Inside the terror faced on the Mosul front line

MOSUL, Iraq (Reuters) - Both screaming in terror, a father and the young daughter he cradled in his arm fled through the rubble-strewn streets of Wadi Hajar, transformed in a flash into a battleground between Islamic State fighters and Iraqi special forces.

They and their neighbors - some wearing rubber sandals, some barefoot - were running from an IS counter-attack in this part of Mosul, dodging gunfire as the militants closed in.

SEE ALSO: Mosul train tunnel reveals assault course for elite Islamic State fighters

When they reached the special forces lines, males were ordered to lift their shirts to prove they weren't suicide bombers. Some had to take off their clothes or show their belts, though not those carrying children.

It's become a common tactic for the militants to use suicide bombers, and the soldiers were firing their guns in the air to try to slow the residents down, shouting at them in Arabic.

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Inside the sheer terror of the front line of Mosul
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Inside the sheer terror of the front line of Mosul
A man cries as he carries his daughter while walking from an Islamic State-controlled part of Mosul towards Iraqi special forces soldiers during a battle in Mosul, Iraq March 4, 2017. Reuters Photographer Goran Tomasevic: "Both screaming in terror, a father and the young daughter he cradled in his arm fled through the rubble-strewn streets of Wadi Hajar, transformed in a flash into a battleground between Islamic State fighters and Iraqi special forces. They and their neighbours - some wearing rubber sandals, some barefoot - were running from an IS counter-attack in this part of Mosul, dodging gunfire as the militants closed in. When they reached the special forces lines, males were ordered to lift their shirts to prove they weren't suicide bombers. Some had to take off their clothes or show their belts, though not those carrying children. The father was so beside himself, so panicked. It was obvious because he had a short shirt on and was carrying a child that he wasn?t Islamic State. I believe they will both be taken to a refugee camp." REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic SEARCH "TOMASEVIC FATHER" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
An Iraqi special forces soldier helps a family carry their child to cross from Islamic State controlled part of Mosul to Iraqi forces controlled part of Mosul, Iraq, March 4, 2017. Picture taken March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
An Iraqi special forces soldier fires at a drone operated by Islamic State militants Islamic State militants in Mosul, Iraq, March 4, 2017. Picture taken March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
An Iraqi family walks from Islamic State controlled part of Mosul towards Iraqi special forces soldiers during a battle in Mosul, Iraq, March 4, 2017. Picture taken March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Men and woman cry while carrying a child as they run from Islamic State controlled part of Mosul towards Iraqi special forces soldiers during a battle in Mosul, Iraq, March 4, 2017. Picture taken March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
An Iraqi special forces soldier checks men for explosive belts as they cross from Islamic State controlled part of Mosul to Iraqi forces controlled part of Mosul, Iraq, March 4, 2017. Picture taken March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Iraqi special forces soldiers walk in a street in Mosul, Iraq, March 4, 2017. Picture taken March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic
A woman cries after crossing from Islamic State controlled part of Mosul to Iraqi forces controlled part of Mosul, Iraq, March 4, 2017. Picture taken March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic
A man runs from Islamic State controlled part of Mosul towards Iraqi special forces soldiers during a battle in Mosul, Iraq, March 4, 2017. Picture taken March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic
Iraqi policemen walk during an airstrike against Islamic State militants in Mosul, Iraq, March 4, 2017. Picture taken March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic
A man gestures as he walks from Islamic State controlled part of Mosul towards Iraqi special forces soldiers during a battle in Mosul, Iraq, March 4, 2017. Picture taken March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic
A man cries while he carries his daughter as he walks from Islamic State controlled part of Mosul towards Iraqi special forces soldiers during a battle in Mosul, Iraq, March 4, 2017. Picture taken March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic
A man cries while carrying his daughter as he walks from Islamic State controlled part of Mosul towards Iraqi special forces soldiers during a battle in Mosul, Iraq, March 4, 2017. Picture taken March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic
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A day earlier, Iraqi troops used bulldozers to move cars into a makeshift barricade aimed at protecting residents from suicide attacks in the area.

Civilians have been displaced in greater numbers in recent days, as the fighting in and around IS's last strongholds in Mosul rages in residential neighborhoods where water, food and power have been rationed for months.

The father was so beside himself, so panicked. It was obvious because he had a short shirt on and was carrying a child that he wasn't Islamic State. I believe they will both be taken to a refugee camp.

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