Iraq media claims 200 civilians killed in Mosul airstrikes

Iraq media claims 200 civilians killed in Mosul airstrikes
Iraqi Kurdish media have alleged that deadly airstrikes took place in IS-held West Mosul - where hundreds of thousands of civilians are trapped - killing 200 people.
2 min read
23 March, 2017
Operations targeting IS militants in west Mosul began on February 19 [AFP]

Over 200 people have been reportedly killed in US-led coalition airstrikes targeting Islamic State group-held areas of west Mosul, Iraqi-Kurdish media have reported.

The airstrikes took place in Mosul district of al-Jadida (New Mosul) neighbourhood, in the west of the city, where Iraqi forces backed by a US-led air coalition are fighting IS militants, according to Kurdish media outlet Rudaw.

A correspondent from the broadcaster in the city said that 130 people were killed in one house alone, where they were seeking shelter.

Around 100 others, said Hevidar Ahmed, were killed in another house.

The Rudaw correspondent said that IS militants could be among the dead amid reports that members of the extremist group are sheltering among civilians, using them as human shields.

Around 650,000 people are thought to remain in Mosul, according to the UN.

The organisation's humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, Lise Grande, told reporters last week that civilians face grave risks whether they choose to leave the city or remain in their homes.

Grande also said that aid organisations were struggling to accommodate all those fleeing the city stating that shelters and humanitarian resources were being stretched to "breaking point".

An average of around 45,000 civilians have fled Mosul per week since operations targeting the west of the city began on 19 February, according to OCHR, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

A spokesperson for US Central Command, which coordinates US military action in Iraq, said in comment to The Independent that they were aware of the Rudaw report and were looking into the claims.

It said the organisation's civilian casualty team were in the process of conducting "further investigations".

Before Thursdays reported deadly airstrike, UK-based NGO AirWars - which monitors reports of civilian casualties from anti-IS airstrikes - had said that 370 civilians had been killed by airstrikes targeting Mosul in the first week of March alone.

US-led coalition airstrikes targeting IS militants across the border in Syria, in Raqqa province, are also said to have resulted in civilian casualties, according to reports from the activist group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently.