IRBIL, Iraq (AP) — Dozens of bodies of alleged Islamic State group fighters continue to litter a neighborhood in Mosul’s Old City some eight months after Iraq declared victory over the extremists there.
Local authorities lack the resources to dispose of the bodies that lie in the Mosul neighborhood where IS fighters made their last stand against Iraqi forces in the summer of 2017, according to the Nineveh governor’s office.
An Associated Press journalist saw the bodies Wednesday.
Mosul lacks the equipment and money needed to pay salaries to teams of workers, according to Qusey Assaf, the Nineveh governor’s assistant for reconstruction affairs.
“Look, I’m telling you, this is wrong,” said Faris Abdulrazzaq Dhannoon, a senior local official, referring to the bodies left unburied for months.
Dhannoon said there were many more IS fighters than civilians in the Old City neighborhood where the decaying bodies now lie.
“There were few civilians in the area because Daesh had evacuated them from this area and taken their houses,” he said, using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State.
Iraq is struggling to remove debris and rebuild nationwide after more than three years of grueling war against the militants.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over IS in Mosul in early July, but clashes with the militants continued for weeks afterward. Al-Abadi declared victory in all of Iraq in December.
The military fight against IS has cost Iraq more than $1 billion in destroyed infrastructure, a sum beyond the country’s means, according to the prime minister’s office.
Iraq is also in the midst of an economic crisis sparked by a global downturn in oil prices and exasperated by years of corruption and waste.