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Iraqi forces wage psychological war with Daesh terrorists’ corpses

Children wait on the back of a pick up truck outside the Khazer checkpoint on the road to Mosul, on Tuesday. (AP)

MOSUL: The flyblown corpses of Daesh militants have been rotting along a main street in north Mosul for two weeks, a health risk for passersby. Suicide bombers’ belts beside the fighters can still explode, killing anyone nearby.
But the Iraqi Army has no intention of burying the militants and hopes as many people as possible will get a good look at their blackened bodies, torn apart by bombs and bullets.
As Iraqi forces prepare to expand their offensive against Daesh from east to west Mosul, they want to stamp out any sympathy that residents may have for the group, which won instant support when it seized the vast city in 2014.
“We will leave the terrorists there,” said Ibrahim Mohamed, a soldier who was standing near three dead radicals, ignoring the stench.
His cousin suffered death by electrocution at the hands of radicals during Daesh’s harsh rule of Mosul because he was a policeman.
“The message is clear to Iraqis, to keep them from joining or supporting Daesh. This will be your fate. The Iraqi Army will finish you off,” he said.
A suicide bomber’s belt, with its detonation pin still in place, lay in the street a few feet away, near some clothing once worn by a militant.
The Iraqi Army has come a long way since it collapsed in the face of Daesh’s lightning advance into northern Iraq. After retaking half of Mosul in three months of fighting, Iraqi forces are poised to enter the western side of the city.
Victory there would mean the end of Daesh’s self-proclaimed caliphate, though Iraqi officials expect the group to fight on as insurgents in Iraq and inspire attacks in the West.
The corpses are left on view as a psychological weapon to deter Daesh sleeper cells, which Iraqi officials say are highly effective and distributed across the country.
Daesh has executed thousands of Iraqi soldiers and policemen, and their comrades are eager for revenge.
“We leave them in the street like that so the dogs eat them,” said soldier Asaad Hussein. “We also want the citizens to know there is a price for supporting terrorists.”
Iraqi citizens do not seem to mind the gory sight of the bodies, with people walking past them every day as Mosul begins the work of rebuilding entire neighborhoods pulverized by Daesh car bombs and US-led airstrikes.
Laborer Youssef Salim observed the corpses, still with army boots on their feet, and paused to reflect on life under Daesh, which has lost ground in Iraq and other Arab countries. He said the bodies should not be moved.
“Do you know what smoking one, just one cigarette meant?” he asked. “Twenty-five lashes in a public square where people were forced to watch you suffer. If your beard length did not meet their requirements, that was a month in jail and 100 lashes in public.”
A few streets away, a group of young boys walked toward three more Daesh corpses. “The bodies should stay. Daesh killed lots of people so why should they be buried,” said Salem Jamil, 13.
But a man who approached said the bodies should be buried because that is everyone’s right.
The three militants were shot when they tried to sneak through some trees to kill soldiers. One of the soldiers stood over the dead men, including one still wearing a suicide belt. He smiled and pointed to a cigarette stuffed in one of the terrorist’s nostrils.
“We put it there because of the terrible things they did to Iraqis,” said the soldier, Asaad Najif. “The fate of any terrorist is clear. We will find you and kill you.”

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