Iraqi families returning home to West Mosul nearly a month after the war-torn city was liberated from the Islamic State are facing deadly remnants left behind by the terrorist group in the form of hidden explosives and booby traps.
The spokesman of the anti-ISIS campaign, Col. Ryan Dillon, said Thursday that Iraqi Security Forces removing ISIS-made improvised explosive devices from the city have found explosives wired into common household items, including ovens, closets, and dresser drawers, that are programmed to detonate at the push of a button or opening of a door.
Dillon, citing an official from the U.S. embassy in Iraq, said one family that recently returned to the city flipped on a light in their home, unwittingly triggering a bomb in their neighbor's apartment that killed several people.
"While ISIS may not be physically present, they have shown time and again that they will continue to leave destruction in their wake," Dillon told reporters during a Pentagon briefing from Baghdad. "They have a clear intent to kill and maim civilians who wish to return home."
ISF troops have reported similar incidents in other recently-liberated areas of northern Iraq, including Fallujah.
Since clearing operations around Mosul began in October, nearly 1,700 civilians have been killed or injured by explosives planted by ISIS fighters, according to the latest numbers from the United Nations Mines Action Service, which coordinates international demining operations.
ISIS targeting of civilians has been aimed at inciting hatred against American-backed coalition forces and undermining stabilization efforts to reinstate government rule, Dillon told the Washington Free Beacon last month.
Despite ongoing security threats, Dillon said ISF forces maintain firm control over Mosul.
Iraqi officials told Reuters in July that rebuilding the city's decimated infrastructure and economy will take at least five years and require billions of dollars.
Three years of ISIS control and successive fighting wrecked Mosul's airport, railroad station, and university, leaving in its wake mountains of rubble and dead bodies.