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'One small mistake and you’re dead': Defusing bombs in Mosul

Wissam Daoud is an Iraqi Emergency Response Division bomb defuser who ventures behind enemy lines to fight Islamic State in Mosul, replanting bombs to foil the enem

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(Marcu Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Wissam Daoud treads carefully through salvaged Islamic State explosives at the abandoned house where his bomb defusing team camped near west Mosul.

(Marcu Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Daoud views the spot where his friend, Amir Abdul Mahdi was shot by a sniper, in West Mosul, Nineveh Province, on March 19, 2017.

(Marcu Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Amid heavy fighting on the front lines in west Mosul, Daoud takes cover and talks to fellow soldiers.

(Marcu Yam / Los Angeles Times)

After reuniting with his wounded commander, Daoud sobs in his makeshift base near the front lines, an abandoned house that once belonged to Islamic State supporters. Daoud knows at least 200 soldiers who have died in the offensive. He has been injured by an explosion but is most afraid of being shot by a snipe.

(Marcu Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Neighbors watch from a distance as Daoud ignites the fuse of a bomb he planted to destroy Islamic State explosives left in a shop in west Mosul. Daoud warned neighborhood children not to play in the storefronts, which had yet to be fully cleared of enemy bombs and booby traps.

(Marcu Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Daoud takes cover as his team detonates hidden Islamic State explosives after they were reported by civilians near west Mosul.

(Marcu Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Daoud visits the holy city of Najaf to pray at a burial ground full of Shiite Muslim comrades who died fighting Islamic State.

(Marcu Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Daoud chokes up as he takes the hand of Emir Abdel Mehdi, his friend and bomb defusing mentor, at his home where he was recovering with family.

(Marcu Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Daoud checks for signs of Islamic State roadside bombs during a patrol in west Mosul.

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