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Mosul battle paused over high casualty rate

9:39am EDT - 01:06

Iraqi government forces have paused their push to recapture western Mosul from Islamic State militants on Saturday because of the high rate of civilians casualties, a security forces spokesman said. Harvey Biggs reports.

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Iraqi government forces paused their push to drive Islamic State militants from western Mosul on Saturday (March 25) amid concerns over the high rate of civilian casualties, according to a security forces spokesman. It follows reports from residents escaping the fighting that U.S.-led coalition air strikes demolished buildings and killed many civilians last week. Local officials say bodies are still being pulled from rubble after an air raid on Islamic State targets triggered a huge explosion on Thursday (March 23). The coalition said it is investigating the reports. The insurgents have also used civilians as human shields and opened fire on them as they try to escape IS-held neighbourhoods, according to residents. After six months of fighting, Iraqi forces have taken control of Mosul's east, but advances have stuttered in the last two weeks as the battle reaches the narrow streets of the Old City. Aid agencies warn up to 600,000 people are still living in the western half of the city.

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Mosul battle paused over high casualty rate

9:39am EDT - 01:06