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UN Agency Suspends Work in 2 Camps Near Mosul Amid Violence

FILE - Iraqis displaced from Mosul receive aid distributions at near Qayara, Iraq, Dec. 28, 2016.

The U.N.'s migration agency said Friday it has suspended operations in two camps near the embattled Iraqi city of Mosul that host nearly 80,000 displaced Iraqis due to security concerns.

The International Organization for Migration announced the temporary suspensions at the Qayara air strip emergency site and the Haj Ali camp amid sporadic violence and gunfire.

IOM spokesman Joel Millman said local staffers were instructed to stay home and not enter the camps following a curfew and restrictions on movement imposed by Iraqi authorities.

He said six water-tanker trucks commissioned by the Ministry of Displacement and Migration were prevented from entering the Haj Ali camp, where temperatures have reached the low 50s Celsius (122 Fahrenheit) in recent days.

Humanitarian groups have repeatedly suspended operations in and around Mosul since the fight to retake the city from IS began last October.

In April, the United Nations suspended operations in the same area due to security threats along the road south of Mosul's western half.

In February the U.N. suspended operations in eastern Mosul weeks after the area was declared fully liberated as IS attacks continued to inflict heavy civilian casualties.

In both instances the U.N. resumed operations within a matter of days.

Iraqi security forces have retaken almost all of Mosul - Iraq's second largest city - from IS militants who overran it in 2014. While IS-held territory has shrunk significantly, the group remains capable of launching counterattacks against Iraqi forces and insurgent attacks deep inside government-held territory.