Iraq orders probe into abuses reported in Mosul battle

Iraq probes allegations of human rights violations in Mosul

The investigation concluded that the U.S. strike in the Al-Jadida district inadvertently triggered explosives placed in the building by Islamic State fighters, causing the building to collapse.

In addition to determining the cause of the building collapse, the investigation also said that the mass of people killed in the strike had been invited to take shelter on the building's lower floors by a neighbor.

It was the single deadliest incident for civilians stemming from a coalition strike since anti-IS operations in Iraq and Syria began almost three years ago.

Gen. Matthew Isler, the lead investigator, said 101 civilians in the building were killed, and another four died in a nearby building.

The deaths represent about a quarter of all civilian deaths since the USA air campaign began.

The US has confirmed that more than 100 civilians were killed in a coalition airstrike on a building in west Mosul in Iraq.

The US-led coalition has been using utterly disproportionate force in the battle for Mosul, with little regard for civilians, an global affairs commentator has told RT.

Rights groups such as Amnesty International report a spike in alleged civilian casualties as a result of the more frequent coalition airstrikes in recent months.

Those organising the strike "could not have predicted the presence of civilians in the structure prior to the engagement", it added. In response, USA dropped a 500-pound bomb on the building in an attempt to kill the snipers.

This is while local officials and eyewitnesses say as many as 240 people may have been killed in the U.S. air raid. It was not powerful enough to bring down the reinforced concrete structure. Enemy fighters warned people in the building next door to leave the area the night before the explosion.

The report is expected to say the building that was hit either was used to store bombs or was rigged with explosives, NPR's Tom Bowman reports.

The U.S. did strike the building and civilians were among the dead. Instead, the building was reduced to a crater of rubble, after ISIS-emplaced explosives detonated, the report says.

But Airwars Director Chris Wood said a rise in civilian deaths has been particularly noticeable around the Daesh stronghold of Raqqa in Syria, where thousands of militants are dug in ahead of an upcoming offensive to recapture the city.

The coalition has sharply increased the number of bombs it is dropping, and Trump has allowed commanders to more quickly approve strikes and fulfil a plan to "annihilate" Daesh.

As Iraq forces continue to push into the narrow, densely populated streets of Old Mosul, use of air power presents a unique challenge when trying to prevent civilian casualties and identify proper targets.

Critics have said the March 17 airstrike demonstrated that the United States has been too quick to use air power in a congested city filled with hundreds of thousands of civilians. These claims have rarely been substantiated in Iraq or Syria during this current conflict.

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