Iraq News

ISIL confiscates mobile phones in Mosul

By Khalid al-Taie

A Baghdad resident uses a mobile phone in the city's al-Karrada neighbourhood. In Mosul, the 'Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant' has been confiscating mobile phones. [Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP]

A Baghdad resident uses a mobile phone in the city's al-Karrada neighbourhood. In Mosul, the 'Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant' has been confiscating mobile phones. [Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP]

As Iraqi forces approach Mosul following a series of victories against the "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL), the group has started confiscating mobile phones and communication devices from residents, Iraqi officials told Diyaruna.

The group also has executed a number of Mosul residents, accusing them of co-operating with the liberating forces and leaking information, officials said.

"The information received from our local sources inside the city of Mosul confirms that ISIL elements began a campaign to collect mobile phones from citizens," said Kurdistan Democratic Party media officer in Mosul Said Mamuzini.

"The terrorists raided houses and arrested citizens in the streets, searching for their mobile phones," he told Diyaruna. "Those who had smartphones with any incoming or outgoing calls or text messages were arrested without any discussion."

ISIL forbids residents from using or possessing satellite dishes and mobile phones or any other wireless communications devices that allow access to the internet, Mamuzini said.

The group's al-hisba office (religious police) is always on the lookout for offenders, he added, and the punishment could be death if ISIL elements suspect someone is leaking news or information about the group's activities.

On July 31st, he said, 12 young men were killed by an ISIL firing squad. They had been jailed on charges of co-operating with Iraqi soldiers and providing them with information on the movements of the group's elements.

ISIL's 'troubled sleep'

The new ISIL campaign in Mosul is just another example of the group's violation of human rights, said Fadel al-Gharawi, who serves on Iraq's Independent High Commission for Human Rights.

"The remarkable victories achieved by our troops against ISIL, in addition to their approach to the outskirts of Mosul city, have troubled the sleep of the terrorists," he told Diyaruna.

By confiscating mobile phones and blocking other means of communication, ISIL is attempting to isolate city residents and tighten its grip on them, he said.

Increasing numbers of people are interested in co-operating with the security forces, al-Gharawi said, expressing his concern that ISIL will ramp up its hostile practices as Iraqi forces approach Mosul.

"Over the past two years, ISIL carried out mass executions against many citizens of Mosul, including civilians, activists, journalists and former security elements under various charges, the most prominent of which is leaking information," he said.

"These organised killings are still ongoing in ISIL's prisons and detention centres as confirmed by our local sources in Mosul," he added.

In anticipation of the battle to liberate Mosul, the government plans to open 12 safe corridors for residents fleeing the fighting, he said, as well as more centres to accommodate and assist displaced residents.

Rampant fear

"The tightened control by ISIL against the people of Mosul reflects its weakness, fragility and extreme fear of approaching its end," said Ninawa provincial council security committee member Daoud al-Jundi.

Raiding houses and shops to search for mobile phones and satellite devices exposes the extent of ISIL's fear, he told Diyaruna, adding that this fear is elevated as the front line approaches Mosul, the group's last major stronghold in Iraq.

"I call on our people in Mosul to use vigilance and caution from ISIL's eyes, especially elements of al-hisba," he said. "I also urge them to do everything they can to help the security forces get rid of the control of this criminal group."

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