Coalition airstrike possibly killed civilians in Mosul: official

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Iraqi families flee the fighting between Iraqi forces and Islamic State jihadists around Mosul. File photo: AFP

ARA News

Erbil – During the second phase of the operation to capture Iraq’s northern city of Mosul from ISIS, a coalition airstrike on Thursday possibly killed civilians, the US-led coalition said in a statement.

“During operations to liberate Mosul on Dec. 29, a Coalition airstrike struck a van carrying ISIS fighters observed firing a SPG9/RPG recoilless rifle before loading the weapon in the van and driving off,” the coalition said.  “The van was struck in what was later determined to be a hospital compound parking lot resulting in possible civilian casualties.”

This comes as US-backed Iraqi forces started the second phase of the battle for Mosul against Islamic State’s (ISIS) militants.

The coalition said that they will take all allegations of civilian casualties seriously and investigate the incident.

“[The US-led coalition] releases monthly reports covering our tracking and investigation of allegations of civilian casualties. Coalition forces comply with the Law of Armed Conflict, work diligently to be precise in our airstrikes, and take all feasible precautions during the planning and execution of airstrikes to reduce the risk of harm to civilians,” the coalition said.

The Iraqi security forces on Thursday opened up new fronts in Mosul. “Iraqi forces this morning launched simultaneous offensives across three new fronts into east Mosul following tactical refit and reinforcement,” Brett McGurk, the coalition anti-ISIS envoy said on Thursday.

“We are proud to support Iraqi forces as they fight on behalf of the world to rid ISIS from Mosul while protecting its civilian population,” McGurk said.

In the meantime, Iraqi troops backed by the US-led coalition’s airstrikes and artillery pushed deeper into eastern Mosul in a multi-pronged assault against ISIS militants in the city. Elite special forces pushed into the Karama and Quds neighborhoods, while army troops and federal police advanced into the nearby Intisar, Salam and Sumor neighborhoods. Columns of dark smoke rose overhead as explosions shook the city and heavy machine gun fire echoed through the streets.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News 

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