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West Mosul battle looks to be deadliest yet for Iraqis

Susannah George and Malak Harb report for AP:

As Iraqi forces pushed into southwestern Mosul, four Islamic State fighters moved into Omar Khudair's home and took up positions on the roof.

The 17-year-old, his parents and siblings took cover in his aunt's house next door, and for the next half hour they huddled in a back room as the battle raged overhead. Then the airstrikes came, blowing up a cluster of houses, killing not only the fighters, but 18 members of Khudair's extended family. The teen was one of the few to survive, left covered in burns and shrapnel wounds.

The fight for the western half of Mosul could the deadliest yet for civilians. Iraqi forces have increasingly turned to airstrikes and artillery to clear heavily populated, dense urban terrain, and residents running out of food and supplies are fleeing their homes at higher rates than previously seen in the Mosul operation.

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