The man had almost made it to safety, with Iraqi forces waiting at the far end of a rubble-strewn alley — but first he had to take off his clothes.
An AP photograph taken on Monday shows him standing in an alley in his underwear, his arms spread wide, proving that he isn’t strapped with explosives. Others gather behind him, waiting to do the same thing.
The Iraqi soldiers fighting to drive Daesh from its last foothold in the city were taking every precaution. Hours earlier, two female suicide bombers hiding among fleeing civilians had struck Iraqi forces, killing at least one soldier and wounding five.
In their months-long battle for the country’s second largest city, Iraqi soldiers have had to contend with booby traps, snipers and suicide car bombs, all while trying to spare the lives of the tens of thousands of civilians who remain in the city.
The man in the alley, terrified and nearly naked, made it out safely. Untold others remain inside.
An Iraqi commander said Daesh were in a “fight to the death” as Iraqi forces close in on them. General. Abdel Ghani al-Asadi, the head of Iraq’s special forces, said Iraqi forces are just 250 meters (yards) from the Tigris River after retaking the city’s main hospital compound the day before.
He said the militants were increasingly resorting to suicide bombings, and he expected the fighting to get even heavier as Daesh are pushed closer to the river.
But as the battle continued, civilians continued to flee with there being many injured, including the children.
As they fled their homes, children hung on while others were carried as their parents made a desperate attempt to bring them to safety and away from the fighting.
And for those who were injured, they had to rely on the Iraqi army because the hospital in Mosul was a shell of itself.
In one instance soldiers of Iraq's Counter Terrorism Unit found a young wounded boy whose family had been killed in the fight against Daesh.