Islamic State beheads 15 Iraqi soldiers in Mosul

Mosul: Islamic State jihadists have publicly beheaded 15 Iraqi soldiers in central Mosul and paraded their corpses along the embattled city’s major thoroughfares, local news site Ara News reported on Wednesday.

Hundreds of people witnessed the gruesome executions on Tuesday, the head of the Nineveh Media Centre watchdog, Raafat al-Zarari, was quoted as telling Ara News.

The soldiers were reportedly taken prisoner after clashes last week in southwestern Mosul.

Undeterred, Iraqi forces have continued to advance into Mosul’s eastern neighbourhoods, Ara News said.

IS-held areas of the city were entirely surrounded on Wednesday after Shia militias and Kurdish forces cut off a key western supply route to Syria trapping IS fighters in the city for a bloody last stand, security officials were quoted as saying.

The Iraqi army, Kurdish forces and Shia militias launched a US-backed joint operation on October 17 to dislodge IS from Mosul and surrounds but have encountered stiffer-than-expected resistance from IS fighters.

IS overran Mosul — Iraq’s second largest city — in June 2014 and declared it the capital of its Islamic ‘caliphate’ stretching across swathes of territory seized by the group in Iraq and Syria during a lightening offensive.