Iraq Oil Report's Daily Brief compiles the most important news and analysis about Iraq from around the web.

Stuck Without Water in Mosul, Neighbors Find a Way

David Zucchino and Ben C. Solomon write for The New York Times:

The water taps are dry in Rashidiya.

The water and sewage system collapsed in this eastern Mosul neighborhood after 100 days of street combat. On Sunday, Haitham Younis Wahab and his neighbor Shamsuldeen Ahmed Saed decided to do something about it.

The two men pounded and dug for three days. Sixteen feet down. Twenty feet down. Nothing. And then, 26 feet beneath the cracked sidewalk, they struck water. After all, they live just a half mile from the muddy Tigris River, which divides eastern and western Mosul.

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Mosul bombings temper residents’ relief at Islamic State pushback

Stephen Kalin writes for Reuters:

The first blast, down the street from his uncle's restaurant in eastern Mosul, sent Mohammed Badr racing towards the door to check the situation. The second one, moments later at the entrance of the restaurant itself, knocked him off his feet.

Together, last Friday's twin suicide bombings killed 14 people and fractured the sense of safety and relief that many residents felt after Iraqi forces pushed the jihadists out of their neighbourhoods in months of heavy street-to-street fighting.

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Looting, Destruction by Forces Fighting ISIS

Human Rights Watch reports:

Armed forces fighting Islamic State (also known as ISIS) to retake a town and four villages near Mosul looted, damaged, and destroyed homes, Human Rights Watch said today. There was no apparent military necessity for the demolitions, which may amount to war crimes and which took place between November 2016 and February 2017.

The Iraqi authorities should investigate allegations of war crimes and hold those responsible to account, Human Rights Watch said. The United States and other countries providing military assistance to the Iraqi Security Forces should press the government to carry out these investigations. The United Nations Human Rights Council should expand the investigation it established in 2014 on ISIS abuses to include serious violations by all parties, including the Popular Mobilization Forces (known as the PMF or Hashd al-Sha'abi), units that were formed largely to combat ISIS, and are under the direct command of Prime Minister al-Abadi.

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U.S. commander expects tough battle in western Mosul

Ayat Basma reports for Reuters:

Islamic State will put up a tough fight in the western side Mosul that remains under its control despite the losses the group suffered so far in the battle for the Iraqi, a U.S. commander said on Wednesday.

"It is hard and hard every day here," Colonel Patrick Work, commander of the 2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, said in an interview with Reuters TV at a brigade artillery position in northern Mosul.

"There are no guarantees certainly when you are fighting and there is no timetable, it is a determined enemy that we are up against," he said.

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Suicide truck bomber kills at least 15 in Sadr City suburb of Baghdad – security sources

Reuters reports:

A suicide bomber detonated a pick-up truck on Wednesday in Sadr City, a heavily populated poor Shi'ite suburb of Baghdad, killing at least 15 and wounding 50, security sources said.

The explosion, the deadliest in Baghdad so far this year, targeted a crowded street full of garages and used car dealers.

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West Mosul eating once a day and bracing for worse

AFP reports:

As the noose tightens around holdout jihadists in west Mosul, so does the belt around the waists of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians trapped there with dwindling supplies.

"We're trying to build up some reserves but we have very little food left at home," said Umm Sameer, a mother from the Ras al-Jadda neighbourhood of west Mosul.

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UN Temporarily Pausing Aid to Eastern Mosul Due to Security

AP reports:

The United Nations said Wednesday it was temporarily pausing aid operations to neighborhoods in the eastern half of the Iraqi city of Mosul as attacks by the Islamic State group continue to inflict heavy civilian casualties there.

Lise Grande, the U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, said U.N. agencies "made the decision that until security improves, it will be difficult for us to provide assistance." She spoke during a visit to a camp for Iraqis displaced from Mosul on Wednesday.

Iraq declared Mosul's eastern half "fully liberated" last month, and a semblance of normalcy returned to many areas, with schools, shops and restaurants reopening. But some neighborhoods continue to be hit by insurgent attacks.

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Thousands in Iraq pay homage to victims of Baghdad protest

AFP reports:

Thousands of Iraqis, mostly supporters of prominent cleric Moqtada Sadr, gathered in Baghdad Tuesday to pay their respects to seven people killed last week during a protest for electoral reform.

Wearing black and waving Iraqi flags, the crowd laid flowers on mock coffins during a large but peaceful ceremony in the Iraqi capital's Tahrir square, where Saturday's deadly rally also took place.

"What happened was a tragedy but it was for the country and for the fight against corruption," said Gailan Kadhem, a 22-year-old man.

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Iraq forces foil IS attempt to flee to Syria: spokesman

AFP reports:

Iraqi forces have thwarted an attempt by around 200 jihadist fighters to flee their bastion of Tal Afar towards Syria, west of the city of Mosul, a security spokesman said Monday.

Forces from the Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation), a paramilitary organisation dominated by Shiite militia groups, said the Islamic State group used tanks in their bid to break out of Tal Afar.

"The attack by the Daesh (IS) terrorist gangs started at around 7:00 pm (1600 GMT on Sunday), the fighting lasted around six hours," their spokesman Ahmed al-Assadi told AFP.

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After Islamic State defeat, broken Iraqi farmers weigh heavy losses

Michael Georgy and Maha El Dahan write for Reuters:

Sami Yuhanna was making a decent living as a wheat farmer until a jihadist put a gun to his head and declared his land in Iraq's Nineveh province the property of Islamic State.

An army offensive has cleared the militants from the eastern half of the provincial capital, Mosul, and nearby towns and villages like Qaraqosh, home to Yuhanna's fields.

But the terror and mismanagement that characterized their two-year rule after seizing Iraq's agriculture heartland has devastated farmers and exacerbated the country’s food security problem.

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