Thousands killed after ‘US-led raids’ in Mosul

On March 24 hundreds of civilians, mostly women and children, have been killed under collapsed buildings in the Iraqi city of Mosul after a reported US-led airstrike triggered a massive explosion in a residential neighborhood last week.

Iraqi civil defense agency officials and locals said Thursday that rescuers are still recovering bodies from under the debris near Rahma hospital in Mosul’s Jadida district following the explosion that took place on March 16.

Iraqi sources have put the number of those killed at over 230. So far 130 dead bodies have reportedly been retrieved from the debris.

The exact cause of the blast remains unclear, but local residents said an explosive-laden truck detonated following a US-led airstrike, destroying buildings in the heavily-populated neighborhood.

Local lawmaker Faris al-Sanjari said the US-led coalition targeted the truck bomb and noted, “You cannot kill dozens just to destroy a booby-trapped truck parked near houses.”

A police civil defense official also said “a coalition air strike hit a residential street last Friday and destroyed at least 30 houses.”

The US-led coalition has not given details on any specific airstrikes on Jadida District.

“We are aware of reports on airstrikes in Mosul resulting in civilian casualties. The coalition conducted several strikes near Mosul and we will provide this information to our civilian casualty team for further investigation,” the coalition said in a statement.

Meanwhile, reports say rescue operation has been temporarily stalled due to lack of equipment in the area, which has been the scene of heavy clashes between Iraqi forces and Daesh terrorists.

“Finding survivors is very difficult because the area is completely destroyed. It is a very big disaster, indeed we can describe it as a disaster,” Civil Defence chief Brigadier Mohammed Al-Jawari told reporters.

According to monitoring group Airwars, at least 2,463 civilians have been killed in US-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria since the start of operations in 2014.

The US and a group of its allies have been pounding Iraq and Syria in a purported effort to root out Daesh. Those operations have widely been criticized by both countries for falling short of their announced objectives.

The US military is also suspecting of helping Daesh extremists by airdropping weapons in the territory held by the terrorists in the face of advances by government forces.

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4,000 Iraqi civilians killed in Western Mosul campaign: Army source

March 24

As many as 3,864 civilians have been killed in western Mosul since mid-February, when the Iraqi army began a wide-ranging campaign to wrest the area from the Daesh terrorist group, according to an Iraqi army source.

“Those who have fled the combat areas are reporting high civilian casualties,” Army Brigadier-General Thaer al-Mosawi told Anadolu Agency.

Al-Mosawi also said that nearby displacement camps and field hospitals had received more than 22,000 injured Mosul residents since the start of the army campaign almost six weeks ago.

In terms of material damage, the army officer said that more than 10,000 residential homes in western Mosul had been destroyed over the same period.

He went on to assert that Iraqi forces had so far driven Daesh militants from slightly more than half of western Mosul.

On Wednesday, an Iraqi army officer in western Mosul — preferring anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to media — told Anadolu Agency that as many as 43 civilians were believed to have been killed in an attack launched “in error” by a U.S.-led air coalition.

On the same day, Iraqi officials announced that the bodies of some 80 dead civilians had been pulled from the rubble of destroyed buildings in both sides of the city.

In mid-February, Iraqi ground forces — backed by U.S.-led coalition air power — began fresh operations aimed at ousting Daesh militants from western Mosul, the terrorist group’s last bastion in northern Iraq.

The offensive is part of a wider campaign launched last October to retake the entire city, which Daesh overran in mid-2014.

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Coalition strikes killing civilians in Mosul: Officer

March 27

At least 43 civilians, including women and children, were killed Monday by airstrikes carried out by U.S.-led coalition aircraft in western Mosul, according to a senior Iraqi military officer.

“Coalition warplanes at dawn Monday struck a Daesh position in Mosul’s central Bab Sinjar district,” the officer, who holds the rank of brigadier in the Interior Ministry’s rapid-reaction forces, told Anadolu Agency.

“The airstrike led to the death of 23 civilians — including women, children and elderly people — while also destroying the intended target and killing the militants holed up inside,” the officer, who spoke anonymously due to restrictions on speaking to media, said.

The same source went on to note that coalition aircraft had conducted a second airstrike — minutes after the first — ostensibly targeting a Daesh position in western Mosul’s Al-Tawwafa area.

“That strike led to the death of 20 people from a single family,” he said.

Spokesmen from the U.S.-led coalition and the Iraqi military, for their part, have yet to comment on Monday’s reported carnage.

“Today’s massacre is similar to that which took place earlier in western Mosul’s Al-Jadeeda area,” the officer said without elaborating.

According to the Sunni bloc in Iraq’s parliament, more than 260 civilians were killed on March 17 when U.S.-led coalition jets struck targets in western Mosul’s Al-Jadeeda district.

On Sunday, parliament’s human rights committee called on Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to launch urgent investigations into reports of “massacres” being committed in western Mosul by U.S.-led coalition warplanes.

Iraqi forces have driven Daesh terrorists from most of eastern Mosul as part of a wide-ranging army offensive launched last October to retake the city, which Daesh overran in mid-2014.

In mid-February, Iraqi forces — backed by a U.S.-led air coalition — began fresh operations aimed at purging Daesh from the rest of the city.

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