Commander says US may have played role in Mosul deaths

"Fighters from ISIS set up on the roof of this building, and so when the building was targeted with an airstrike, it ended up killing a lot of the people sheltering inside", Rabkin told VOA.

"I'll say this: If we did it - and there's a fair chance that we did - it was an unintentional accident of war, and we will transparently report it to you when we're ready", the general said.

Officials are investigating reports that US -led airstrikes in the ISIS stronghold Mosul left roughly 200 civilians dead.

A senior USA defense official denied Saturday that there had been any change in the rules of engagement.

He said USA investigators have visited the site and that the review is looking at 700 weapons system videos over a 10-day period to help understand the effects of the munitions used.

Unlike in previous battles against IS in urban settings in Iraq, the government instructed Mosul civilians to remain in their homes, to prevent large-scale displacement.

If confirmed, the March 17 attack in Mosul would be among the deadliest airstrikes to hit civilians since the us war in Iraq began in 2003.

Votel and other military officials have, in recent days, acknowledged that the US probably played a role in the civilian casualties. "We go out of our way to always do everything humanly possible to reduce the loss of life or injury among innocent people", Mattis said.

"It is very possible that Daesh blew up that building to blame it on the coalition in order to cause a delay in the offensive on Mosul and cause a delay in the use of coalition air strikes", Milley said.

A retired USA general has cautioned that casualties among civilians may become a common event in the fight to annihilate the Islamic State.

USA personnel had arrived at the site to assess the evidence, Townsend said.

Maj. Gen. Maan al-Saadi, an Iraqi special forces commander, told the New York Times his men had called in the US airstrikes that caused the civilian deaths in Mosul.

This week Amnesty International accused the US-led coalition of not taking "adequate precautions" to protect Mosul's residents as it struggles to wrest back the city in a gruelling house-by-house battle.

The top United States commander overseeing the anti-ISIS operation said Tuesday that the U.S.

Despite the intensity of the fighting, Iraqi security forces continue to press ISIS on multiple axes, presenting them with multiple dilemmas, the general said, adding that the enemy can not respond to the approach.

Townsend said that in this particular airstrike, the munition used "should not have collapsed an entire building".

So if the coalition strikes a building that turns out to have had civilians inside, according to the general, it is safe to assume that they were forced to stay there.

Conflicting accounts have emerged since the March 17 explosion in al-Jadida district in west Mosul, where Iraqi forces backed by US-led coalition air strikes are fighting to clear Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) fighters from Iraq's second city.

The UN also has "reports" of another 95 people killed in four western Mosul neighbourhoods between March 23 and 26, it said.

"This is an enemy that ruthlessly exploits civilians to serve its own ends, and clearly has not even the faintest qualm about deliberately placing them in danger", U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein said.

Thousands of civilians are fleeing the fighting, shelling and air strikes, but as many as half a million people may be trapped inside the city. All U.S. airstrikes were carried out in support of the Iraqi Security Force advance on the city of Mosul against ISIS.

  • Leroy Wright