MOSUL, Iraq (AP) — The man had almost made it to safety, with Iraqi forces waiting at the far end of a rubble-strewn alley — but first he had to take off his clothes.
An AP photograph taken Monday shows him standing in an alley in his underwear, his arms spread wide, proving that he isn't strapped with explosives. Others gather behind him, waiting to do the same thing.
The Iraqi soldiers fighting to drive the Islamic State group from its last foothold in the city were taking every precaution. Hours earlier, two female suicide bombers hiding among fleeing civilians had struck Iraqi forces, killing at least one soldier and wounding five.
In their months-long battle for the country's second largest city, Iraqi soldiers have had to contend with booby traps, snipers and suicide car bombs, all while trying to spare the lives of the tens of thousands of civilians who remain in the city.
The man in the alley, terrified and nearly naked, made it out safely. Untold others remain inside.