(Reuters) The flyblown corpses of ISIS 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 jihadists 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 ISIS 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 jihadists, ignoring the stench.
His cousin suffered death by electrocution at the hands of jihadists during ISIS harsh rule of Mosul because he was a policeman.
“The message is clear to Iraqis, to keep them from joining or supporting Daesh (ISIS). 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 ISIS 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 ISIS self-proclaimed caliphate, though Iraqi officials expect the group to fight on as insurgents in Iraq and inspire attacks in the West.