Several people have been killed as Isis militants launched rockets on a busy market in Iraq's east Mosul on Sunday (26 March), a military official told Turkey's Anadolu Agency. At least 11 shops at the Prophet Younis or Nabi Yunus market in the liberated eastern part were completely destroyed in the attack, Brigadier General Younis Ali Najjar of the Iraqi army told the news agency.
Conflicting reports emerged on the casualty, but according to Najjar, at least 16 civilians were killed in two rocket attacks.
"Two Katyusha rockets landed this [Sunday] afternoon on the Prophet Younis market in eastern Mosul, killing 16 civilians, and injuring 43 others. The injured are being treated at hospitals across the city," the officer said.
He added that civil defence personnel and local security forces had removed the bodies from the market. Firefighters were also trying to extinguish the blaze that gutted multiple shops.
The eastern part of the city – a former stronghold of the Islamist militant group – was liberated on 24 January. However, the area continues to face deadly attacks from retreating Isis fighters.
Meanwhile, the loss of civilian lives in the fight to eliminate the jihadists has raised serious concerns, with humanitarian agencies and government forces trying to evacuate as many people as possible from warzones.
Iraqi forces and the US-led coalition have reportedly halted their advance in the western part of the city following and are assessing ways to minimise civilian deaths.