Iraqi state-run TV says Islamic State's second-in-command killed in airstrike

Following suit, Belgium which is part of the anti-IS (Islamic State, formerly ISIS/ISIL) coalition, also announced that it will now examine whether its jets might have been involved in targeting civilian sites on a least two occasion on March 17.

"We regret the unintentional loss of civilian lives resulting from coalition efforts to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria and express our deepest sympathies to the families and others affected by these strikes", the task force said in a statement.

The US is adjusting its aerial tactics after the Islamic State baited an airstrike on almost 200 civilians in Mosul, a spokesman for the US mission in Iraq told reporters Thursday.

Meanwhile, US Central Command said that the air strikes by the US-led coalition against the Daesh have likely "unintentionally" killed 229 civilians since the offensive began in 2014.

The commander of the US-led forces admitted this week that they "probably had a role" in casualties caused by an explosion on March 17, which local sources said left dozens of non-combatants dead. The relatively new tactic has been used in the West Mosul fight, said the officials, who were not authorized to discuss the military operations publicly so spoke on condition of anonymity. The U.S. military launched an investigation into that incident late last month.

Iraqi authorities say more than 200,000 civilians have fled the fighting since mid-February.

"The coalition commander's intent is that ISIS be first to know about any additional capabilities the coalition or our partner forces may present them on the battlefield".

Under questioning from lawmakers, Votel repeated USA military assertions that the military rules of engagement have not been changed or relaxed to allow for more civilian casualties.

Coalition spokesman Colonel Joseph Scrocca said his elimination would disrupt the Islamist militant group's ability to create propaganda and recruit children and young people for terror operations. He said the only change authorized late past year was to allow certain combat decisions be made by USA commanders closer to the fight as the battle moved into the densely populated areas of the city.

In Iraq, coalition military forces conducted five strikes consisting of 45 engagements against ISIS targets in Mosul, coordinated with and in support of the Iraqi government.

Stephen Townsend, the senior United States commander in Iraq, said coalition forces "probably had a role in those casualties".

  • Joanne Flowers