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US-led strikes ‘likely’ caused 229 civilian deaths — Pentagon

/ 11:17 AM April 02, 2017
Iraqis clean up the rubble of destroyed buildings in the Mosul al-Jadida area on March 26, 2017, following air strikes in which civilians have been reportedly killed during an ongoing offensive against the Islamic State (IS) group.   Iraq is investigating air strikes in west Mosul that reportedly killed large numbers of civilians in recent days, a military spokesman said.  / AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE

Iraqis clean up the rubble of destroyed buildings in the Mosul al-Jadida area on March 26, 2017, following air strikes in which civilians have been reportedly killed during an ongoing offensive against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group. US airstrikes have ‘likely’ killed 229 civilians since 2014, the Pentagon said. AFP

WASHINGTON — Air strikes by the US-led coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group have likely “unintentionally” killed 229 civilians since the offensive began in 2014, according to US Central Command.

The tally does not include civilian casualties from March — which could include potentially large numbers of civilians killed in strikes over several days in Mosul’s al-Jadida area. Attention has focused on one allegedly particularly deadly strike on March 17.

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Stephen Townsend, the senior US commander in Iraq, said coalition forces “probably had a role in those casualties.”

The coalition has said it has launched an investigation into the reported deaths.

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Iraq is also probing the deadly air strikes in the western district of Mosul al-Jadida, where the number of victims is said to range from dozens to hundreds.

The battle for Mosul began in October 2016.

As of the end of February 2017, “it is more likely than not, at least 229 civilians have been unintentionally killed by coalition strikes since the start of Operation Inherent Resolve” in Iraq and Syria, according to the statement from Centcom, the US military command in the Middle East.

Some 43 different reports of possible civilian deaths in the two countries are still under investigation by the coalition, the statement said.

Critics, including monitoring groups, say the real number is much higher.

The coalition insists that the IS group has targeted civilians and used them as human shields, making it difficult to avoid civilian casualties despite its state-of-the-art technology. CBB/rga

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TAGS: civilian deaths, ISIS, news, Pentagon, US airstrikes
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