The inhabitants of Mosul Iraqi city held its first Muslim Eid festival without the Islamic state in the year after Sunday militants were expelled from most of the city and relied on that battle to recover the rest of the area Would end soon.
The children gathered in the square on the east side of the city. Some were playing on old swings and others with guns and toy weapons, which were among the toys licensed by militants in the Islamic state after taking control of the city in June 2014.
The activists established an extreme version of Islam, which combines toys with a face like dolls, with idolatry.
Young people are encouraged to train in weapons and change the text to reflect their military ideology. Children were invited to add bombs or bullets in math exercises.
Eid’s prayers were allowed under the Islamic state, but the feasts were not.
But for many, Eid Sunday’s celebration is overshadowed by the destruction of its historic minaret backed by activists Wednesday and the fear of thousands of civilians trapped in the old town in western Mosul, always under control of the Islamic state.
“It’s not going to be a real Eid before going home,” said a 60-year-old man, moved from the west side of town, across the Tigris where the fighting continues.
Some expressed their grief over the destruction of the mosque of Nuri al-Grand, at the age of 850 years, and its minaret tilted 150 feet (45 meters).
“Eid is not the same,” said a man who refused to give his name out of fear is still present even if Iraqi forces evicted insurgents from the eastern part of the city months ago.
Iraqi forces seized the eastern side of the Islamic state in January, after 100 days of fighting, and began attacking the west side in February. Activists are besieged in the ancient city of Mosul.
The Islamic State has responded with a series of suicide bombings in Hay al-Tanak, a poor neighborhood in the west of the old city.
“Security forces blocked a violent attack by the belts of explosives (people wearing explosive belts, from Hay to Tanak,” a military statement said, showing black smoke images saying they are from house fires and militant cars.
The Iraqi army has not confirmed the statements of the Islamic State under which the insurgents took control of Hay al-Tanak and began attacking the neighborhood of Hay Yarmuk. Witnesses said they saw residents fleeing.
“While our heroic forces are the closest to declaring the final victory over the Daesh (Islamic State) band, I offer my sincere congratulations to the Eid al-Fitr,” Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in a statement.
An international coalition led by the United States offers ground and air support for the eight-month offensive to expel militants from their de facto capital in Iraq.
About 350 Islamist fighters, most of whom are not Iraqi defend their fortress in the densely populated ancient city of Mosul, an Iraqi general said on Sunday. It is expected that the battle for the city ends in day ….