Mosul air strike: '200 civilians killed by US bombs'

Children and babies reportedly among the dead as fight to win back IS stronghold continues

Iraqis in Mosul after air strikes
Iraqis clean up the rubble in Mosul following air strikes
(Image credit: Ahmad Al-Rubaye/Getty )

While the eyes of the world turned to the terror attack in London last week, "another mass casualty further afield has been buried in the headlines", says The Independent.

US-led airstrikes targeting Islamic State fighters in Mosul, northern Iraq, reportedly killed more than 200 civilians between 17 and 23 March.

Bombs rained down in the heart of downtown on the western bank of the Tigris river, which divides the coalition-controlled eastern part of the city from the west, Islamic State's last stronghold in Iraq.

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Apartment blocks on Baghdad Street were reduced to ruins.

"At least 50 bodies could be seen, including those of pregnant women, children and newborns," the Los Angeles Times reports.

The Pentagon acknowledged that bombs targeting IS militants had been dropped "at the location corresponding to allegations of civilian casualties".

An inquiry is now underway in the US to determine whether the bombs destroyed the civilian buildings, weakened them enough to create a collapse, or if IS "detonated an explosion after the airstrike to bring structures down," says the LA Times.

Iraqi-led forces entered eastern Mosul in November 2016, following the recapture of dozens of outlying towns and villages.

Since then, coalition troops have been engaged in a fierce street-by-street battle which has seen them retake the eastern half of the city.

The fight for Mosul has been a lengthy and complex one, with an estimated 750,000 civilians crowded into the densely populated city and streets riddled with roadblocks and IS snipers.

The US has lent its aerial firepower to the offensive since it began, but rights groups say recent weeks have seen a "dramatic rise" in the amount of non-combatant casualties, Al Jazeera reports.

The Pentagon estimates that 220 civilians have died in US air strikes between mid-2014, when it joined the international campaign to defeat IS, and the start of March 2017.

However, independent watchdogs have said the true figure could be closer to 3,000, says The Independent.

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