An Iraqi soldier runs through the city of Qaraqosh, as troops search for any Islamic State militants still in the area, near Mosul in Iraq October 30, 2016.
An Iraqi soldier runs through the city of Qaraqosh, as troops search for any Islamic State militants still in the area, near Mosul in Iraq October 30, 2016.

TAZA KHURMATU, IRAQ - Islamic State militants fleeing Mosul at the start of a coalition offensive are now threatening new regions of Iraq and the civilian populations who reside there.  

In the northern town of Taza, locals say they are prepared.

Map of Taza, Iraq. (VOA/Mark Sandeen)
Map of Taza, Iraq. (VOA/Mark Sandeen)

“We have dug a very deep trench…to prevent suicide car bombs entering the town, said Nazim Kahiya, a town leader, who said militants have used chemical weapons during past assaults.

“There was no security when IS was here," Taza resident Hawkar Muhammad said. "They were constantly bombarding us with chemical weapons."

Now with IS militants dispersed from their Mosul stronghold and on the run, there's a sense that future attacks will be far less lethal.

Finally, safety seems like a real possibility in Taza.

WATCH: Residents in Taza Say They are Prepared