IS fighters in Mosul provoking coalition strikes on civilians

Miranda GreerApr 09, 2017

The current operation to recapture Mosul carried out by the Iraqi troops backed by the US-led global coalition began in October 2016 and resulted in the liberation of the eastern part of the city this January. Votel also told the committee that almost 800 Iraqi security forces have been killed and 4,600 wounded in the increasingly brutal battle to retake Mosul from IS extremists that began last fall.

Army Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, the top commander for USA and coalition forces in the fight against the Islamic State, has also directed a formal, in-depth investigation, known as a 15-6, into the airstrikes, Scrocca said.

But given the fluid fight in Mosul, where US and coalition aircraft, Apache helicopters, Paladin howitzers, and HIMARS precision rockets stationed outside the city are firing 24 hours a day at an enemy on the move, those calls are being made quickly.

Thousands of residents have fled from IS-held areas inside Mosul, but tens of thousands more are still trapped inside homes. Other estimates, however, suggest that this number could be as high as 220 - many among them women and children.

Officials said they suspect the building may have been booby-trapped or that the damage may have been caused by the detonation of a truck bomb. The U.S. military said it is investigating a March 17 incident that killed dozens of civilians in western Mosul.

He said US 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.

Putting civilians at risk is the nature of war in a dense urban environment against an enemy who doesn't recognize the laws of war, both Townsend and Votel said.

Earlier this week, a surveillance aircraft watched ISIS smuggling civilians into a building, Scrocca said.

As investigators probe the March 17 blast, Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend said increases in casualties were to be expected as the war against the insurgents entered its deadliest phase in the cramped, narrow streets of Mosul's Old City.

The Iraqi push has been backed up with coalition air strikes.

An Iraqi air force helicopter fires missiles against ISIS militants during a battle in Mosul, March 17, 2017.

Scrocca said the video would be released to the public as soon as it is declassified.

Just under 3,500 Iraqi troops were injured or killed during the three-month campaign to clear the eastern half, he said.

The CENTCOM commander went on to say that Islamic State (IS, former ISIS/ISIL) is most likely to have a hand in this tragedy.

Donald Trump claimed he knew "more about ISIS than the generals do, believe me", and he'd "bomb the sh*t" out of them, getting a new policy reviewed in 30 days.

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