>> They should be clearing rubble, but seven months on, they're still clearing bodies. And there's a quiet battle raging over who's responsible. For Iraqis returning to Mosul after Islamic State's defeat, it's not the lack of electricity or water they're struggling with, but the smell of rotting corpses. Thousands of bodies of civilians and fighters still litter the streets.
Reuters' Raya Jalabi was out with this team collecting bodies.>> I spent the day with the municipal government team a few weeks ago. And they were dispatched to pick up the bodies of militants who've been spotted by local residents. But also, as we were walking past several areas that were completely rubble filled, we came across a few residents who told us that the body of a little girl had been left to decompose in the streets for several months now.
So we spent time with them as they sort of spent half an hour digging out this child from the rubble.>> The girl was found clutching a cuddly toy rabbit. No one knows who she is. The corpses lying in the open on many streets are mainly militants. The Civil Defense teams that report to the Interior Ministry don't want to waste resources on their bodies.
And local officials say there are also thousands of civilian bodies buried in the rubble, a claim the government denies.>> The bodies of 2,585 civilians have been collected by the Civil Defense since August, which is about a month after the sort of city was declared fully liberated. So as for that point, for the last six months they had collected more than 2,000 bodies.
The municipal government team of body collectors, however, has a backlog of 300, if not more, specific sightings of bodies that they have to deal with. So it's unclear how many more there are.>> 9,000 people are reported missing. And with limited funds, local government have been forced to set up their own team to field the backlog.
The standoff over the dead could raise tensions between the predominantly Sunni population and the Shiite-led government.