US command: Mosul airstrike occured at the request of Iraq forces


The U.S-led coalition in Iraq said Saturday that one of its airstrikes struck fighters and equipment of the ISIS terror group in West Mosul on March 17 at the location where there were reports of more than 100 civilian casualties.

The airstrike was carried out at the request of Iraqi forces, the coalition said in a statement.

The coalition came up with the date after an initial review of airstrike data for the week ending March 23.

Reports have indicated that the airstrike may have allegedly killed more than 100 civilians in western Mosul where U.S.-backed government troops are battling ISIS extremists in fierce fighting.

The coalition said that it takes all allegations of civilian casualties seriously and a formal Civilian Casualty Credibility Assessment has been opened “to determine the facts surrounding this strike and the validity of the allegation of civilian casualties.”

“The coalition respects human life, which is why we are assisting our Iraqi partner forces in their effort to liberate their lands from ISIS brutality,” the statement said. “Our goal has always been for zero civilian casualties, but the Coalition will not abandon our commitment to our Iraqi partners because of ISIS’s inhuman tactics terrorizing civilians, using human shields, and fighting from protected sites such as schools, hospitals, religious sites and civilian neighborhoods.”

Residents reported two airstrikes hitting a residential area on March 13 and 17. The Iraqi Defense Ministry has provided no immediate comment.

In tweets published on his official account, Iraqi parliament speaker Salim al-Jabouri said “we realize the huge responsibility the liberating forces shoulder” and call on them to “spare no effort to save the civilians.”

In a statement issued on his website, Iraq Vice President Osama al-Nujaifi, himself from Mosul, described the incident as a “humanitarian catastrophe,” blaming the U.S.-led coalition airstrikes and excessive use of force by militarized Federal Police forces. Al-Nujaifi put the number of civilians killed at “hundreds.”

He called for an emergency parliament session and an immediate investigation into the incident.

Residents of the neighborhood known as Mosul Jidideh told The Associated Press on Friday that scores of residents were believed to have been killed by two airstrikes that hit a cluster of homes in the area. Resident Ahmed Ahmed said there were over a hundred people within the cluster taking refuge from the missiles.

AP reporters saw on Friday at least 50 bodies being recovered from the wreckage of the buildings.

Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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