At­tack launched by U.S. linked to civil­ian deaths

At least 100 were killed in Mo­sul airstrike that tar­geted Is­lamic State

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Sinan Salaheddin

bagh­dad »An airstrike tar­get­ing Is­lamic State mil­i­tants in the Iraqi city of Mo­sul that wit­nesses say killed at least 100 peo­ple was in fact launched by the U.S. mil­i­tary, Amer­i­can of­fi­cials said Satur­day.

U.S. of­fi­cials did not con­firm the re­ports of civil­ian ca­su­al­ties but opened an in­ves­ti­ga­tion. In the days fol­low­ing the March 17 airstrike, U.S. of­fi­cials had said they were un­sure whether Amer­i­can forces were be­hind the at­tack.

The state­ment is­sued by the U.S.-led coali­tion said the airstrike had been re­quested by Iraqi se­cu­rity forces to tar­get Is­lamic State fight­ers and equip­ment “at the lo­ca­tion cor­re­spond­ing to al­le­ga­tions of civil­ian ca­su­al­ties.” U.S.-backed gov­ern­ment troops were fight­ing Is­lamic State forces in that area of west­ern Mo­sul, the state­ment said.

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

“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,” the coali­tion said.

Altaf Mu­sani, rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion in Iraq, told The As­so­ci­ated Press in the Jor­da­nian cap­i­tal of Am­man that the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s pri­or­ity was quick treat­ment for those wounded.

“It is our un­der­stand­ing that there was an in­ci­dent and we have worked with the lo­cal health ac­tors and they have con­firmed more than 100 are dead,” Mu­sani said.

Mu­sani said that since the op­er­a­tions in Mo­sul be­gan in Oc­to­ber, there have been at least 5,300 peo­ple re­ferred to hos­pi­tals in and around the city. He added that since the at­tack on west­ern Mo­sul be­gan last month, “we have man­aged to cap­ture more than 1,300” cases.

“When you take a bet­ter look at what those num­bers mean, what is wor­ry­ing for the WHO and aid ac­tors is that roughly 30 per­cent of the to­tal num­bers are women,” he said.

“Roughly 30 per­cent of that large num­ber are chil­dren un­der 15, and that is deeply con­cern­ing be­cause of the ca­pac­i­ties needed to treat those wounded com­ing out of the front lines.”

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump cam­paigned on a prom­ise to dra­mat­i­cally ramp up the as­sault on Is­lamic State mil­i­tants and has vowed to erad­i­cate it.

U.S. Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son and U.S. De­fense Sec­re­tary Jim Mat­tis met in re­cent days with Iraqi Prime Min­is­ter Haider al-Ababi and for­eign min­is­ters from the coali­tion part­ners at the State Depart­ment to ex­plore new ideas to ex­pand the fight against the Is­lamic State in Mo­sul.

Res­i­dents carry the bod­ies of peo­ple killed dur­ing fight­ing be­tween Iraqi se­cu­rity forces and the Is­lamic State on the west­ern side of Mo­sul, Iraq, on Fri­day. Scores were re­ported killed in ear­lier airstrikes in the neigh­bor­hood. Felipe Dana, The As­so­ci­ated Press

Ahmed Pesher on Fri­day cries next to the de­stroyed houses where he says 23 mem­bers of his fam­ily were killed dur­ing fights be­tween Iraqi se­cu­rity forces and the Is­lamic State on the west­ern side of Mo­sul, Iraq. Felipe Dana, The As­so­ci­ated Press

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