BAGHDAD: Jihadist militants from the Islamic State group posing as liberating security forces killed at least 15 civilians who welcomed them in central Mosul, officials said on Tuesday.
Wearing police uniforms, they entered parts of the Old City on Monday to trick residents into showing their support for the federal forces, the Joint Operations Command (JOC) and a local official said.
"Daesh (IS) terrorist gangs committed a brutal crime yesterday morning in an area of Mosul's Old City," the JOC said in a statement.
It said the jihadists, who are defending their last Mosul bastions against a huge six-month-old offensive by the security forces, wanted to "confound civilians who expressed joy and welcomed them with chanting".
They killed women and children, the JOC said, "to make it clear the area was still under enemy control".
The statement did not specify how many were killed in that manner but Hossameddin al-Abbar, a member of Nineveh provincial council, told AFP at least 15 civilians were shot dead.
"Daesh members, some of them wearing federal police uniforms, entered the Al-Maidan and Corniche areas of the Old City," he said.
"They were driving black vehicles and posing as liberators from the Iraqi forces," Abbar added.
"When some families welcomed them, they arrested several of them. They executed at least 15 other people," he said.