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IS 'likely using abductees as human shields' in Mosul

Iraqi forces are intent on recapturing the city of Mosul Credit: Reuters

Fighters with so-called Islamic State are likely using villagers from areas around Mosul as human shields, a spokeswoman for the UN human rights office has said.

Citing "corroborated information" from the area, Ravina Shamdasani said that IS had abducted 550 families from villages around Mosul and are holding them close to IS locations in the Iraqi city.

She said the UN human rights office was also investigating reports that IS fighters had killed 40 civilians in one village.

IS suicide bombers kill 11 in Kirkuk power plant attack

Kirkuk is some 100 miles from the Islamic State-held city of Mosul Credit: Reuters

Three fighters with the so-called Islamic State are said to have stormed a power plant north of Kirkuk, killing 11 people before blowing themselves up, according to Iraqi police.

Kirkuk is about 100 miles from the Islamic State-held city of Mosul, where Iraqi forces are waging a wide-scale offensive to recapture the city.

Major Ahmed Kader Ali said the men entered the facility early on Friday, took 10 workers hostage, and demanded to be taken to two Iranians who worked there.

One of the workers reportedly led the fighters to the Iranians before escaping, while the fighters killed the Iranians and other workers and then blew themselves up as the police arrived.


US soldier killed by roadside bomb near Mosul

About 5,000 US forces are in Iraq Credit: Reuters

A US bomb disposal expert has died from wounds he sustained from a roadside bomb planted near the city of Mosul.

The service member, who has not been identified, had been operating as an explosive ordnance disposal specialist in support of the Iraqi Kurdish force known as the peshmerga.

About 5,000 US forces are in Iraq, with more than 100 of them embedded with Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga forces involved with the Mosul offensive.

This is the fourth US soldier to have been killed since the start of Operation Inherent Resolve in 2014.

More than 5,500 people forced to flee Mosul homes

More than 5,500 people have been forced to flee their homes because of fighting around the Iraqi city of Mosul since Monday, the International Organisation for Migration has said.

It added that most of 5,640 people displaced have fled in the last 24 hours.

Earlier on Thursday, the Iraqi prime minister said the offensive to reclaim the IS-held city is "moving more quickly" than expected.

Bid to reclaim Mosul 'moving more quickly than expected'

An offensive to reclaim Mosul from so-called Islamic State militants is "moving more quickly" than expected, the Iraqi prime minister has said.

ITV News cameras have travelled with the army during the offensive

In a video conference call, Haider al-Abadi told officials in Paris that the cooperation of Iraqi forces and the Kurdish Peshmerga fighters showed that Iraq was "united" in its aim to defeat the extremist group.

The forces are pushing towards the town more quickly than we thought and more quickly than we had programmed in our campaign plan.

– Haider al-Abadi, Prime Minister of Iraq

French President François Hollande, who hosted a meeting to discuss the future of the city, added there was evidence that Islamic State fighters were already fleeing Mosul for Raqqa, the group's stronghold in Syria - and warned that "everything should be done" to stop them from regrouping there.

ITV News cameras have travelled with the army during the operation, which is expected to lead to the biggest battle in Iraq since the US-led invasion in 2003.

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