Mine clearance operations have begun in Mosul and the surrounding areas as ISIS have been driven out. The Iraqi forces have found huge swathes of territory littered with improvised explosive devices (IEDs), particularly improvised mines.
The humanitarian mine action charity Mines Advisory Group (MAG) has reported clearance of over 11,000 newly laid mines in Iraq and Syria since September 2015. Despite the losses suffered by the group, ISIS forces have manufactured and deployed improvised explosive devices (IEDs) across the battlefield on a quasi-industrial scale.
Responsible for a large number of civilian and military casualties, these improvised bombs endanger and significantly delay ground operations against ISIS positions. They have also been the main reason why civilians have not been able to return to their homes. In February alone, 505 civilian deaths and injuries from explosive violence was reported.
IEDs and mines have become the primary weapon used by ISIS to thwart the Iraqi forces’ advances and inflict damage. The majority of deaths at the hands of terrorists have been as a result of IEDs often planted in houses and on the streets.
Meanwhile, operations to liberate the rest of west Mosul from ISIS are ongoing. The most intense fighting has occurred in the Old City, which is the heart of the group’s last stronghold in Iraq.