61 BOD­IES RE­COV­ERED IN MO­SUL

Iraqi forces say IS booby-trapped build­ing

New Straits Times - - World -

BAGH­DAD

ICARRIE LAM, Hong Kong’s next leader

RAQ’S mil­i­tary said yes­ter­day that 61 bod­ies had been re­cov­ered from a col­lapsed build­ing that was booby­trapped by Is­lamic State in West­ern Mo­sul, but there was no sign it was hit by a coali­tion strike though a large ve­hi­cle bomb was dis­cov­ered nearby.

The state­ment was a re­sponse to re­ports by eye­wit­nesses and lo­cal of­fi­cials that as many as 200 bod­ies had been re­moved from a col­lapsed build­ing after a coali­tion strike last week tar­geted IS mil­i­tants and equip­ment in al Ja­dida dis­trict.

The in­ci­dent re­mains far from clear and de­tails are dif­fi­cult to con­firm as Iraqi forces bat­tle with IS to re­cap­ture the densely pop­u­lated parts of the west­ern half of Mo­sul, the mil­i­tant group’s last strong­hold in Iraq.

On Satur­day, the United States-led coali­tion said it car­ried out a strike on IS mil­i­tants and equip­ment in the area of the re­ported deaths, but it was still in­ves­ti­gat­ing. It did not give fig­ures for any ca­su­al­ties or de­tails on tar­gets.

The Iraqi mil­i­tary com­mand said eye­wit­nesses had told troops that the build­ings were booby­trapped and mil­i­tants had forced res­i­dents in­side base­ments to use them as hu­man shields. IS mil­i­tants had also fired on troops from those houses, it said.

But its fig­ures were lower than

MON­DAY, MARCH 27, 2017 other lo­cal of­fi­cials. A lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal of­fi­cial said on Satur­day that 240 bod­ies had been pulled from the rub­ble. A lo­cal law­maker and two eye­wit­nesses said a coali­tion air strike may have tar­geted a large truck bomb, trig­ger­ing a blast that col­lapsed build­ings.

The in­ci­dent has high­lighted the com­plex­ity of fight­ing around West­ern Mo­sul’s Old City, where IS fight­ers are hid­ing among fam­i­lies and us­ing the nar­row streets and al­leys to their ad­van­tage, forc­ing Iraqi forces into street fight­ing. Reuters

AP PIC

Res­cue per­son­nel work­ing to re­cover the bod­ies of peo­ple killed dur­ing fight­ing in Mo­sul on Fri­day. Res­i­dents said scores of res­i­dents were killed when airstrikes hit a clus­ter of homes.

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