Hamam al-Alil massacre

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Hamam al-Alil massacre
Part of the War in Iraq (2013–2017)
LocationMosul District, Nineveh Governorate, Iraq
Date28 October – 7 November 2016
TargetCivilian dissidents
Attack type
Mass murder
Perpetrator Islamic State
MotiveRetaliation against individuals that refused to fight for ISIL

The Hamam al-Alil massacre (Arabic: مجزرة حمام العليل‎) was the killing of at least 300 civilians in the town of Hamam al-Alil in Iraq's Nineveh Governorate by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in late October and early November 2016.[1][2] The event took place within a larger ongoing assault on the city of Mosul by a wide coalition of anti-ISIL forces, which managed to capture Hamam al-Alil on 7 November.


The Battle of Mosul began on 16 October 2016 with forces besieging ISIL-controlled areas in the Nineveh Governorate surrounding Mosul.[3][4]

Massacre and recapture of town[edit]

By October 29, the town of Hamam al-Alil was "almost 90% surrounded" as Iraqi security forces and federal police continued their push northward to Mosul. News reports suggested at least 42 civilians were killed by ISIS in the town the day before, and numerous more taken north to serve as human shields in the upcoming offensive.[5]

On November 4, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees announced that ISIS was instructing residents of the town to hand over boys aged 9 and older, apparently to fight for the group. Around 150 families from Hamam al-Alil were reportedly moved to Mosul itself.[2][6] The Commissioner's office estimated that as many as 1,600 civilians may have been forcibly moved from Hamam al-Alil to Tal Afar earlier in the week, and could be transferred even further west into Syria. Prior to the 2014 ISIS offensive, the town and surrounding villages were home to around 65,000 people.[6]

By the next day the town was under direct attack from Iraqi forces, with militants using previously planted landmines and bombs to stop their advance. Military reinforcements were sent to the area to help counter the attacks, including aerial support by Iraqi planes and attack helicopters.[6] On November 6, the government offensive succeeded in breaching through to the city center, as the Iraqi forces estimated at least 70 IS fighters, mostly foreign, were left to defend the town. Some militants attempted to escape across the river, while Iraqi troops and police managed to prevent three attempted suicide car bombings.[7]

Shortly after Hamam al-Alil was declared fully liberated on November 7, Iraq's military announced it had discovered around 100 beheaded bodies in the College of Agriculture and Forestry (part of the University of Mosul), on the southern outskirts of town. It was not immediately known if those included the 42 reported killed previously, or if they constituted a separate mass killing.[2][8]


After government forces pushed out ISIS on November 7, locals expressed their joy that the group's reign of terror had been brought to an end, with many re-opening their shops or taking the opportunity to bathe in the town's sulfur springs. Officials with the federal police said they will focus on clearing operations around Hamam al-Alil before proceeding north toward Mosul.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Hundreds dead in IS 'killing field' near Mosul". Sky News. 11 November 2016. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
  2. ^ a b c "Mass grave containing 100 bodies found in town south of Mosul, Iraq says". CNN. 7 November 2016. Retrieved 7 November 2016.
  3. ^ "Battle for Mosul: Iraq and Kurdish troops make gains". BBC News. 17 October 2016. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  4. ^ Blau, Max; Park, Madison; McLaughlin, Eliott C. (17 October 2016). "Battle for Mosul: Iraqi forces close in". CNN. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  5. ^ "ISIS 'executes' 232 near Mosul, takes thousands as human shields, UN says". CNN. 29 October 2016. Retrieved 7 November 2016.
  6. ^ a b c "#MosulOp: Iraqi forces storm southeast town of Hamam al-Alil". The New Arab. 5 November 2016. Retrieved 7 November 2016.
  7. ^ "Iraqi commander: More than 2,000 ISIS militants killed". The New Arab. 6 November 2016. Retrieved 7 November 2016.
  8. ^ a b "Iraqi forces capture key town of Hamam al-Alil from ISIS on southern approach to Mosul". The Straits Times. 7 November 2016. Retrieved 7 November 2016.

Coordinates: 36°09′27″N 43°14′29″E / 36.157365°N 43.241365°E / 36.157365; 43.241365