At least a dozen civilians and possibly many more were killed Saturday during a U.S.-led air raid on the Iraqi city of Mosul, according to a monitoring group.
Citing local news reports, Airwars, an organization that tracks civilians killed by airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, said perhaps two dozen or more innocent Iraqis died in airstrikes along with 30 to 40 fighters for the Islamic State group, which has occupied Iraq’s second largest city since June 2014.
The U.S.-led coalition, which has been bombing Iraq for the past 18 months, has acknowledged operating in the area at the time but has not commented on the alleged civilian toll.
“As many as 1.5 million Iraqi civilians remain under occupation in Mosul by so-called Islamic State,” Airwars director Chris Woods told teleSUR. “Yesterday’s massive daylight air raid on the city — which saw at least three central locations bombed and credible claims of 25 or more civilians killed — was shocking in its ferocity and reckless in its apparent disregard for civilian lives.”
“We urgently call on both the U.S.-led coalition and the Iraqi government to clarify whether their forces were responsible,” said Woods, “and to ensure that civilians in Mosul are not further exposed to such extreme attacks.”
The U.S. Department of Defense did not return a request for comment.
According to NRN News, an Iraqi media organization cited by Airwars, the U.S.-led coalition — which includes 10 other nations, among them France, Britain and Denmark — struck three sites in Mosul on March 19, including a cafe. After that attack, “people gathered around the place to help the wounded,” NRN reported. “But a second missile led to a fall of more than 50 civilians,” 25 of whom reportedly died.
— Warfare Worldwide (@WarfareWW) March 21, 2016
The U.S. has long been accused of carrying out so-called “double-tap” strikes, particularly in Pakistan, targeting those — including rescue workers — who respond to an initial attack.
Two other coalition airstrikes reportedly hit buildings at the University of Mosul on Saturday, killing the Islamic State group’s self-styled “Minister of High Education” and “killing and wounding” 50 others, according to NRN.
The international air campaign against the Islamic State group is also reportedly killing civilians in Syria.
According to activists in Raqqa, the extremist group’s self-declared capital, Russian airstrikes on Saturday killed at least 55 people, mostly civilians.
Neither claim of civilian casualties could be independently verified.
Russia maintains that its five-month old air campaign in Syria has only killed “terrorists.” The United States, meanwhile, has admitted to killing at least 21 innocents in Iraq and Syria.
According to Aiwars, however, the U.S.-led coalition has likely killed over 1,000 civilians since August 2014, with Russia likely killing twice as many.
This content was originally published by teleSUR.
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