Human shields in Iraq: The new ISIS strategy in fight for Mosul

The intent is sinister: Using civilians as human shields is ISIS's attempt to hold onto the city, the jewel of its self-proclaimed caliphate.

No one expected the militants to surrender Mosul without a hellish fight. But for Iraqis still living under ISIS control in the city and surrounding areas, every option now is grim.

They can try to flee but be branded by ISIS as "apostates," for which the penalty is death. Or they can potentially be seen as ISIS sympathizers in a new place and risk becoming victims of revenge crimes.

232 executed near Mosul, thousands more used as human shields

The terror group carried out the mass killings Wednesday, punishing people who had defied its orders, a spokeswoman for the UN human rights arm told CNN.

"ISIS executed 42 civilians in Hammam al-Alil, south of Mosul. Also on Wednesday ISIS executed 190 former Iraqi security forces for refusing to join them, in the Al Ghazlani base near Mosul," said Ravina Shamdasani of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Another 24 former Iraqi security forces officers were reportedly killed Tuesday, the office said.

Source: ISIS executes hundreds of Mosul area residents

Those killed on Thursday and Friday had been rounded up near and in the city for use as human shields against attacks that are forcing ISIS out of the southern sections of Mosul, the source explained.

ISIS used a bulldozer to dump the corpses in a mass grave at the scene of the executions -- Mosul's defunct College of Agriculture in the north of the city, the intelligence source said.

The victims were all shot and some were children, said the source, who wanted anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media. CNN could not independently confirm the claim.

Battle for Mosul: Operation to retake Iraqi city from IS begins

Artillery began firing on the city early on Monday, in a long-awaited assault from Kurdish Peshmerga, Iraqi government and allied forces.

Tanks are now moving towards the city, which has been held by IS since 2014.

The UN has expressed "extreme concern" for the safety of up to 1.5 million people in the area.

The BBC's Orla Guerin, who is with Kurdish forces east of Mosul, says tanks are advancing on the city, kicking up clouds of dust.

ISIS uses exploding drone to kill soldiers

The terror group attacked a Kurdish defensive post on October 2 using a drone carrying "some sort of explosives," a senior Peshmerga officer said.

The drone killed two Peshmerga soldiers and injured two French military personnel north of Mosul, the Peshmerga officer said.

Images of the drone's remnants show "it appears to be a cheap Chinese drone, easily available on the market," CNN's Ben Wedeman said from Irbil, Iraq.

Egypt launches 'revenge' airstrikes on ISIS in Sinai

While the military did not specifically name the group, ISIS claimed responsibility for Friday's attack that left at least 12 soldiers and 15 of the assailants dead.

According to the army statement, released Saturday, the three-hour air operation targeted several concentrations of militants, destroyed ammunition and weapons storage facilities, destroyed seven vehicles and killed an unspecified number of militants.


Battle for control

The attackers hit the checkpoint using four-wheel drive vehicles, the Egyptian military said.

Syrian rebels capture symbolic ISIS-held town

The Free Syrian Army (FSA), a Turkish-backed faction, took back Sunday the town of Dabiq from ISIS, Turkish state media and a monitoring group said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based organization, said it received reports that groups of ISIS fighters had withdrawn from Dabiq overnight.

Though ISIS forces left, Turkish security sources told Anadolu's reporter the recapture of Dabiq was the hardest part so far for Operation Euphrates Shield.

Iraq Air Force drops leaflets warning of Mosul's liberation from ISIS

"It's victory time," blares a headline on the newspaper-style leaflets, quoting Iraqi President Haider al-Abadi in remarks directed at Mosul's residents. "Time to celebrate a clean Iraq without 'Daesh' (ISIS) or any dark belief."

Another headline reads, "We are preparing to take action to free Mosul and regain security and stability in the region."

Iraqi housewife 'cooked the heads' of ISIS fighters

Immediately they went quiet, each adjusting his weapon and standing up straight as if he'd been called to attention.

This is a woman who commands respect, I thought. She keeps a Beretta 9-millimeter pistol in a holster under her left arm. The area around the trigger was silver where the paint had worn off.

The woman in question, 39-year-old Wahida Mohamed -- better known as Um Hanadi -- leads a force of around 70 men in the area of Shirqat, a town 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Mosul, Iraq.

US says it killed IS information minister al-Fayad

Also known as "Dr Wa'il", he was minister of information for IS, and oversaw the production of propaganda videos showing executions.

The Pentagon said the strike had taken place near Raqqa on 7 September.

Fayad was a close associate of IS strategist Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, who was killed in an air strike last month.