Updated: 19/10/16 : 07:30:51
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World :: US says IS using human shields in battle for Mosul

The US has accused Islamic State (IS) militants of using civilians as human shields as Iraqi forces move closer to the group's stronghold in Mosul.

Some 700,000 people are believed to remain in the city, where up to 5,000 IS fighters face the third day of the operation to retake Mosul.

News that the nearby town of Qaraqosh had been liberated was later denied by a government commander.

But the US-backed coalition say they have driven IS out of 10 villages.

Government troops are moving up from the south while their Kurdish allies are approaching from the east in a two-pronged campaign which began on Monday.

US President Barack Obama has sought to allay concerns about an exodus of civilians from the area, saying "plans and infrastructure" are in place for dealing with a potential humanitarian crisis.

The EU has warned that jihadists fleeing Mosul, many of them citizens of EU states, could return to Europe and present a grave security risk.

Some of the militants involved in the deadly IS attack on Paris last November had recently returned from Syria.

Mosul was once one of Iraq's most diverse cities, comprising Arabs, Kurds, Assyrians and Turkmens, as well as a variety of religious minorities.

Sunnis there are wary of the involvement of Shia Muslim militia groups in the offensive.

The commander of one of the main groups, Hadi al-Ameri of the Badr Brigades, sought to reassure them on Tuesday, saying only Iraqi security forces would be allowed to operate inside the city.