US Air Strike Kills Over 200 in Iraq

by Sojourner Staff

MOSUL, IRAQ – A recent air strike by the US-led coalition on the Iraqi city of Mosul, likely aimed at ISIS positions, has claimed over 200 civilian lives and prompted an investigation by the Pentagon, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The coalition attack, part of a larger offensive in the city which began in October, occurred on March 17. According to the report, bodies are still both visible at the site and being uncovered while others are being kept at nearby facilities awaiting identification by family members. One man was reported to be looking for up to 32 members of his family.

Civilian losses typically lead into greater inquiries about the use of force, and while the investigation is seeking answers to see if environmental factors contributed to the scale of the attack, such as striking a gas truck, the death toll stands to be one of the largest in modern war.

As a direct result of the growing civilian losses due to coalition operations, The Times revealed that Iraqi forces participating in the Mosul offensive have halted their operations.

“The recent high death toll among civilians inside the Old City forced us to halt operations to review our plans,” said an Iraqi forces spokesperson. “It’s a time for weighing new offensive plans and tactics. No combat operations are to go on.”

The news of the air strike comes on the heels of another incident near the Syrian city of Raqqa where a coalition strike killed up to 33 people according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

In January, the US-led coalition admitted that operations against ISIS in both Iraq and Syria had claimed up to 188 lives. The Pentagon believes that up to 220 civilians have been killed in coalition airstrikes since 2014, but the non-profit Airwars, which monitors civilian deaths, claims that the number could be as high as 2,700.

Since October of last year, the coalition has dropped over 18,400 munitions on the city of Mosul in efforts to help the Iraqi forces advance.

While the coalition stresses that it takes utmost precaution in preventing civilian deaths, many in the city have their doubts, as one man told RT News last week:

“We are asking for bombing specific targets. There are still families inside the houses and the aircraft keep bombing. We are asking the coalition planes to be specific when they bomb. They were bombing randomly.”

Another man, who lost several family members to coalition strikes, added the following, “They dropped leaflets over the city telling us not to worry about the strikes, saying that they were extremely precise and would not hurt the civilians. Now it feels like the coalition is killing more people than [Islamic State].”

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