W. Mosul's old quarter hit by airstrike; 11 killed

Displaced Iraqi people who fled their homes because of the clashes carry their belongings to go to safe places as Iraqi forces battle with Islamic State militants in Mosul Iraq
US Airstrikes in Iraq'Almost Necessarily Increases Risk to Civilians- HRW REUTERS Ari Jalal

09 April, 2017

USA -backed forces are attempting to push IS fighters out of west Mosul after having liberated the less-populated eastern part of Iraq's second-largest city.

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres arrived in Baghdad on Thursday to review the humanitarian situation, calling for protection of civilians to be the "absolute priority" as Iraqi forces battle to retake Mosul.

A Pentagon spokesman on March 30 airstrikes-in-their-homes-after-they-were-told-not-to-flee-mosul">said the US military will soon release a video showing IS fighters herding people into a building, then firing from the structure to bait coaltion forces.

On Friday, Islamic State fired at least 18 rockets from western Mosul into the eastern part which Iraqi force have retaken, the city's police chief Brigadier General Wathiq al-Hamdani told Reuters. He said the only change authorized late previous year was to allow certain combat decisions be made by US commanders closer to the fight as the battle moved into the densely populated areas of the city. "The situation is very good and the Iraqi air force is doing well".

In one instance, the officials said a precision USA strike took out the sniper but left the building intact.

The US military has elevated the level of inquiry into the suspected Mosul airstrike that allegedly killed dozens of civilians from a "credibility assessment" to a full formal investigation, the head of the US Central Command has said at a Congress briefing. "The high civilian toll suggests that coalition forces leading the offensive in Mosul have failed to take adequate precautions to prevent civilian deaths, in flagrant violation of global humanitarian law". The Pentagon said the advisers are generally not near the front lines but work in headquarters behind the front lines. Residents and outside groups have said the explosion killed at least 100 people.

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Local officials and eyewitnesses say as many as 240 people may were killed in the al-Jadida district when a huge blast caused a building to collapse, burying families inside.

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But Col Scrocca said there were about 2,000 fighters in western Mosul before the recent Iraqi offensive, and that the number of militant fighters was now less that half that size.

The senior military officials said that before the decision-making was streamlined, there were nearly daily instances when the delay in getting approval for a strike allowed a target to get away.

Numerous displaced have returned to their homes in areas retaken from Islamic State but some, like Saqr, have not yet been allowed to return by the authorities. "We are strongly hopeful that the liberation of Mosul will soon be completed", Guterres said alongside Abadi, according to a copy of his remarks.

"For the first time, we caught this on video yesterday, as armed [Islamic State] fighters forced civilians into a building, killing one who resisted and then used that building as a fighting position against the [Iraq Counter Terrorism Service forces]", he said.

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