04:21 GMT27 October 2020
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    An investigation carried out by the Pentagon has found that more than 100 civilians were killed in March after the US carried out an airstrike in the Mosul al-Jadidah area, Iraq.

    The report from the invention into the strike says that the US missile triggered secondary explosives that had been surreptitiously placed in the area by Daesh fighters. The Pentagon says that it was these blasts that caused the building housing civilians to collapse. 

    The Air Force Brig. Gen. Matthew Isler, who is leading the investigation, said that 101 civilians in the building had been killed by the blast, and 36 people still remain unaccounted for.

    The incident is likely to be seen as the largest of its kind since the US launched its coalition air campaign against Daesh in Iraq in 2014.

    "The coalition takes ever feasible measure to protect civilians from harm. The best way to protect civilians is to defeat ISIS. Our condolences go out to all those that were affected," Maj. Gen. Joe Martin, the commander of ground forces for the US-led coalition said.

    The Pentagon's investigation however goes against the data released by UK-based non-profit monitoring group AirWars, and local Iraqi residents who claims that the actual death toll of the US airstrike on Mosul al-Jadidah was upward of 200. This goes at odds with the US' claim that only between 137 and 140 civilians were present at the moment of the attack.

    The officials' first main conclusion of the investigation is that the US was responding to a call for air support from Iraqi soldiers on the ground who were trapped under sniper fire. Allegedly, the proper precautions for an airstrike were taken, and the strike was approved, following this the US hit the snipers with a bomb that took out the entire area that the snipers were using as their vantage point. 

    The second main finding is that, the US Air Force did indeed hit a building and civilians were killed as a result. The officials emphasized that the building collapsed because explosives had been placed in and around the building by Daesh. However, the officials made clear that it is not yet clear whether the civilians were in the building via their own volition, or whether they were being held captive by Daesh.

    The officials who carried out the investigation are also quoted as saying that, "there is no way the munition a US plane dropped March 17 in the Jadidah neighborhood could have caused the extensive damage that killed 101 people in a house and four in a neighboring house." 

    The Iraqi go government is yet to corroborate the investigation's conclusions that 101 people were killed. In fact, back in March when the attack was carried out, it disputed the US' claim that weapons had been placed around the building. 

    AirWars said that the US-led coalition killed 370 civilians by airstrikes in the first week of March alone.

    The group also says that a minimum of 3,350 people have been killed in coalition strikes in both Iraq and Syria. 

    Related:

    Daesh Relocates Headquarters From Besieged Iraqi City of Mosul
    Nearly 200,000 Civilians Remain Under Daesh Control in Iraq’s Mosul - UN
    Over 526,000 Iraqis Displaced From West Mosul Amid Anti-Daesh Offensive
    Tags:
    anti-Daesh coalition, airstrikes, monitoring, civilian deaths, Daesh, Airwars, US Military, Pentagon, Iraq, US, Mosul
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