US Confirms Coalition Airstrike In Mosul May Have Killed As Many As 240 Civilians

The US admits it carried out an airstrike on March 17th that killed up to 240 civilians in Mosul. The first estimates for the number killed in this strike were 130 dead.

The US military confirmed on Saturday that a coalition airstrike had hit an Islamic State-held area of Iraq’s Mosul where as many as 240 civilians may have been killed as result of the air raid.

What happened in the incident on March 17 in Mosul al-Jadida district is still unclear according to Reuters. Some residents say a coalition air strike hit an explosive-filled truck, detonating a blast that collapsed buildings packed with families. Mosul municipality chief, Abdul Sattar al-Habbo, who is supervising the rescue, said 240 bodies had been pulled from the rubble of collapsed buildings. Previous estimates from local officials had said around 130 people had died. While US officials say they are investigating, initial reports from residents and Iraqi officials in the past week said dozens of people had been killed after air strikes by U.S.-led coalition forces.

The US said the strike was at the request of the Iraqi forces. The American confirmation followed a decision by Iraqi government forces to pause their drive to recapture west Mosul on Saturday because of the high rate of civilian casualties.

“An initial review of strike data from March 16-23 indicates that, at the request of the Iraqi Security Forces, the Coalition struck ISIS fighters and equipment, March 17, in West Mosul at the location corresponding to allegations of civilian casualties,” US Central Command said in a statement issued on Saturday.

Videos of the deadly aftermath of the airstrike released on Friday show scores of dead bodies being pulled out of a completely destroyed building in western Mosul. There have also been reports by eyewitnesses who say over a hundred civilians were either killed or buried under rubble in the bombing raid.