Isis militants are reported to be planting bombs near residents' front doors in Mosul to prevent them from leaving their homes, as Iraqi forces make their final push against the jihadists after seven months of fighting.

Trapped in a shrinking area of control in the city, the militants are increasingly using the several hundred thousand civilians under their control as human shields to avoid being targeted. Lieutenant-General Abdul Ghani al-Assadi of the elite Counter Terrorism Services (CTS) said Isis chained civilians by the hands and used them as human shields to move around.

Mosul civilians bombs human shields
A mobile phone rigged with explosive is seen during the battle between Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants in western MosulAlaa Al-Marjani/Reuters
Mosul civilians bombs human shields
A boy who was injured during clashes between Iraqi forces and Isis is treated near a frontline in western MosulDanish Siddiqui/Reuters
Mosul civilians bombs human shields
A man who fled from his home in western Mosul carries his injured sonAlaa Al-Marjani/Reuters

Backed by a US-led coalition, Iraqi forces have made rapid gains since opening a new front in north-west Mosul this month and have now dislodged Islamic State from all but about 12 square km (five square miles) of the city. The militants still control the Old City, where they are expected to make their last stand in the densely populated, narrow streets that are impassible for armoured vehicles, forcing Iraqi forces to advance on foot.

The Iraqi government is pushing to declare victory by the holy month of Ramadan – beginning on 27 May – even if pockets of resistance remain in the Old City. Lieutenant-General Abdul Ghani al-Assadi told state TV his elite Counter Terrorism Services (CTS) were advancing steadily in the Rifaie and Najjar districts, aiming to reach the western bank of Tigris river and complete the Old City's encirclement. The militants had deployed 30 suicide car bombs against his troops in Mosul over the past two days, he said.

Mosul civilians bombs human shields
Journalists take cover as a suicide car bomb explodes during clashes between Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants in western MosulDanish Siddiqui/Reuters
Mosul civilians bombs human shields
Smoke rises over western Mosul as the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service forces clash with Islamic State militantsDanish Siddiqui/Reuters
Mosul civilians bombs human shields
Displaced Iraqis are seen through the windshield of an armoured vehicle as they evacuate their homes in a neighbourhood of west MosulFadel Senna/AFP
Mosul civilians bombs human shields
Members of the Iraqi forces take position in a neighbourhood of west MosulFadel Senna/AFP
Mosul civilians bombs human shields
A member of the Iraqi forces stands next to armoured fighting vehicle in a neighbourhood of west MosulFadel Senna/AFP
Mosul civilians bombs human shields
A member of the Iraqi forces rests next to a car as others take position in a neighbourhood of west Mosul during an ongoing offensive to retake the area from IsisFadel Senna/AFP
Mosul civilians bombs human shields
Members of the Iraqi forces take position in a neighbourhood of west MosulFadel Senna/AFP
Mosul civilians bombs human shields
Members of the Iraqi forces take position with armoured fighting vehicles in a neighbourhood of west MosulFadel Senna/AFP
Mosul civilians bombs human shields
Displaced Iraqis from Mosul's western Rabie neighbourhood flee their homesAhmad al-Rubaye/AFP
Mosul civilians bombs human shields
Residents of Mosul's western Rabie neighbourhood flee their homes as security forces advance into the area during the ongoing offensive against IsisAhmad al-Rubaye/AFP
Mosul civilians bombs human shields
A man tries to put out a car on fire as Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Services (CTS) advance towards Mosul's western Rifai neighbourhoodAhmad al-Rubaye/AFP
Mosul civilians bombs human shields
Members of the Iraqi forces sit with children in west Mosul during their ongoing offensive to retake the city from IsisFadel Senna/AFP

Hundreds of civilians have been killed under bombardment by the US-led coalition and Iraqi airforce during the Mosul campaign and the rest are eating weeds and boiled wheat grain to survive as food runs out.

"People are hungry and starving to death. There is nothing left. There isn't any water, people are so thirsty they would drink from the well which is full of diseases. Children and women, they were eating grass," said Qusay Adil Muhammd, an injured Iraqi civilian.

Many are desperate to flee the devastation, but escaping is not easy. "We were controlled because when someone would walk, an Isis militant would walk behind him; so you are unable to escape, even if you did escape, you have a family to be afraid for, meaning that if you would go, IS would kill your children," said Hatim Ahmad Fraja, a Mosul resident.

Fearful of triggering bombs if they open the front door, civilians are fleeing through the same holes Isis knocked through interior walls to move around the city without being targeted from the sky.

Mosul civilians bombs human shields
Displaced Iraqis flee their homes as government forces advance in their ongoing offensive to retake the area from IsisFadel Senna/AFP
Mosul civilians bombs human shields
Iraqis flee western Mosul during a fight between Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service forces and IsisDanish Siddiqui/Reuters
Mosul civilians bombs human shields
Displaced Iraqis from Mosul's western Rabie neighbourhood flee their homesAhmad al-Rubaye/AFP
Mosul civilians bombs human shields
A displaced Iraqi boy drinks water as he flees with his family during a fight between Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) forces and Isis in western MosulDanish Siddiqui/Reuters
Mosul civilians bombs human shields
Displaced Iraqi women sit together during a battle in western MosulAlaa Al-Marjani/Reuters
Mosul civilians bombs human shields
A woman who fled from clashes carries her baby during a battle between Iraqi forces and Islamic state militants in western MosulAlaa Al-Marjani/Reuters
Mosul civilians bombs human shields
A sick child is seen during the battle between Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants in western MosulAlaa Al-Marjani/Reuters
Mosul civilians bombs human shields
A member of the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service carries an elderly woman in western MosulAlaa Al-Marjani/Reuters
Mosul civilians bombs human shields
Iraqis leave their homes as members of the Iraqi forces take position in a neighbourhood of west MosulFadel Senna/AFP
Mosul civilians bombs human shields
A member of the Iraqi security forces comforts a child as residents from Mosul's western Rabie neighbourhood flee their homesAhmad al-Rubaye/AFP
Mosul civilians bombs human shields
Displaced Iraqis from Mosul's western Rabie neighbourhood flee their homesAhmad al-Rubaye/AFP
Mosul civilians bombs human shields
Displaced Iraqis from Mosul's western Rabie neighbourhood flee their homesAhmad al-Rubaye/AFP
Mosul civilians bombs human shields
Displaced Iraqis from Mosul's western Rabie neighbourhood flee their homesFadel Senna/AFP
Mosul civilians bombs human shields
Displaced Iraqis from Mosul's western Rifai neighbourhood flee their homes as Iraqi forces advance into the areaAhmad al-Rubaye/AFP
Mosul civilians bombs human shields
Displaced Iraqis from Mosul's western Rifai neighbourhood flee their homes as Iraqi forces advance into the areaAhmad al-Rubaye/AFP

The number of people fleeing Mosul has surged since the re-intensification of hostilities this month. Nearly 10,000 people were displaced from the city on Tuesday (16 May), according to Iraqi government figures, joining an exodus of nearly 700,000 who have left Mosul since the start of the campaign last October. The United Nations said up to 200,000 more people could flee Mosul as fighting intensifies.