RAAF bombers no role in Iraq civilian hit

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

In the month of March so far, US -led coalition airstrikes resulted in 110 separate incidents of reported civilian casualties, allegedly killing more than 1,200 people, according to Airwars, an organization tracking airstrikes.

The Pentagon, which has yet to release casualty figures from last month's fighting, has acknowledged 220 civilian deaths from coalition airstrikes in Iraq and Syria since the US campaign against ISIS began in 2014.

Iraqi commanders say that the militants are increasingly using civilians as human shields, packing them into buildings that they are using as weapons storage facilities or as headquarters. IS militants had also fired on troops from those houses, it said.

As NPR's Alice Fordham reports, an Iraqi rescue worker, Abdelsalam Abdelkadir, said his team had recovered dozens of bodies and thinks there are many more under the rubble of a densely-populated neighborhood of western Mosul.

The focus of inquiry will be whether the coalition airstrike hit the building; whether an accumulation of airstrikes in the area degraded the structural integrity of the building before it fell; or whether the Islamic State detonated an explosion after the air strike to bring the building down.

There are still some 600,000 civilians believed to remain in ISIS-held areas.

Rather than engage Daesh in close-quarters combat in order to preserve civilian lives, the Iraqi military has long resorted to artillery and aerial bombardments, leading to catastrophic civilian death tolls.

"We are aware of reports on airstrikes in Mosul resulting in civilian casualties".

Intense street-to-street fighting in the western section of Mosul raised concern about the estimated half a million people trapped in the area.

"He said ISIS was using people as human shields, and that he didn't know whether the strikes were by Iraq's air force or the US -led coalition against ISIS", Alice reports.

The U.S. Central Command report, however, doesn't mention strikes on March 22-23. The US military has finally acknowledged that it launched an airstrike in which residents said more than 100 people were killed.

"International humanitarian law is clear".

Al Jazeera's Hoda Abdel-Hamid, reporting from a hospital in Erbil, northern Iraq, spoke to people who confirmed they had lost family members on the air raids of March 17.

The Iraqi military has halted all offensive operations while the investigation proceeds.

Iraqi army soldiers and Hashd al-Sha'abi fighters launched their offensive to retake Mosul last October and since then they have made sweeping gains against Takfiri elements. "And now you increase the likelihood that you're going to fight this exact same fight in another city on another day".

"Nothing in this conflict is more important than protecting civilians", Grande said. "This means that combatants can not use people as human shields and can not imperil lives through the indiscriminate use of firepower", said Lise Grande, the United Nations s humanitarian coordinator for Iraq.

  • Leroy Wright