>> The battle for Western Mosul is on hold. Iraqi government forces paused their push to drive Islamic State militants from the area on Saturday, amid concerns over the high rate of civilian casualties, according to a security forces spokesman. It follows reports from residents escaping this fighting, that US coalition-led airstrikes demolished buildings and killed many civilians last week.
Local officials say bodies are still being pulled from the rubble after an air raid on Islamic State targets triggered a huge explosion on Thursday. The US military has acknowledged that one of its aircraft struck a location in West Mosul at the request of Iraqi security forces where dozens of casualties allegedly occurred.
The insurgence have also used civilians as human shields, and opened fire on them as they tried to escape IS held neighborhoods, according to residents. After six months of fighting, Iraqi forces have taken control of Mosul's east. But advances have stuttered in the last two weeks as the battle reaches the narrow streets of the old city.
Eight agencies warned up to 600,000 people are still living in the western half of the city.