Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com & Raptly TV & France 24 & BBC News & Rudaw & AP – 2017-05-27 01:21:03
Iraq: Devastation on West Mosul’s
Al-Nadjjar Streets after the Defeat of IS
(May 25, 2017) — The streets of recently captured Al-Nadjjar district in West Mosul, were filmed on board a vehicle of the Iraqi Federal Police on Thursday, as it drove on its devastated streets towards the new frontline.
Iraq: On the Road to Mosul
With Iraqi and Kurdish Forces
FRANCE 24 English (October 19, 2016)
US Admits Killing at Least
105 Civilians in Mosul Strike
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(May 25, 2017) — In their continued struggle to handle the narrative surrounding one of the most calamitous US airstrikes in modern history, Central Command (Centcom) has now admitted that they killed at least 105 Iraqi civilians in an attack on Mosul’s residential neighborhood.
That’s the most they’ve been willing to admit to so far, despite reports repeatedly putting the toll in excess of 230. Even this admission is a major step forward, as while officials said they “probably” did the attack, they also totally omitted this death toll from their official statement on civilian deaths in March.
Even two months later, and even admitting to less than half the actual death toll, Centcom was still full of excuses, claiming they destroyed the buildings while targeting two “ISIS snipers” on the roof, and accusing ISIS of having filled the building with explosives so it was kind of their fault too.
They offered no evidence for either of these claims, and survivors of the destruction of the buildings have previously denied both claims, insisting the whole reason so many people were hiding in the buildings was because they were a bit away from ISIS and the fighting, hoping that would keep them from getting blown up by the US.
Even as half-hearted and full of excuses as it is, the offer of “condolences” from the US about all the people they killed that day in Mosul is, at the very least, a lot more than most of the in Iraq and Syria get when they are bombed by the Americans.
US Air Strike on IS Killed 105 Civilians in Iraq’s Mosul
(May 26, 2017) — The United States has admitted that at least 105 Iraqi civilians were killed in an air strike it carried out in Mosul in March. US Central Command (CentCom) said it had targeted two snipers from so-called Islamic State (IS) with what it called a “precision-guided munition”.
However, the strike detonated explosives that militants had placed in the building, CentCom said. Civilians sheltering in the lower floors were killed when it collapsed.
In another incident, 35 civilians were killed on Thursday in US-led coalition air strikes in an eastern Syrian town, monitors said.
The strikes targeted the IS-held town of Mayadeen in the province of Deir Ezzor, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Families of IS fighters, including children, were among those killed, it added. CentCom said the death toll in the March attack in Iraq included four civilians in another nearby structure.
Eyewitnesses claimed another 36 non-combatants were also in the building, but US authorities said it had “insufficient evidence to determine their status”. CentCom previously said the planes had acted at the request of Iraqi security forces, as coalition forces attempted to wrest control of the city from IS.
The civilians had gathered in the lower floors of the building after being expelled from their homes by IS fighters, a declassified summary of the report said.
Those organizing the strike “could not have predicted the presence of civilians in the structure prior to the engagement,” it added. US officials said the type of bomb was chosen “to minimize collateral damage,” but the explosives hidden by IS were at least four times more powerful than the weapon itself.
“Our condolences go out to all those that were affected,” Major General Joe Martin said in a statement. “The coalition takes every feasible measure to protect civilians from harm.” Initial media reports had placed the casualty estimates as high as 200.
Hundreds of thousands of civilians have fled the northern Iraqi city as the operation to reclaim it has continued. Thousands of Iraqi security forces, Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, Sunni Arab tribesmen and Shia militiamen, assisted by US-led coalition warplanes and military advisers, are involved in the offensive, which was launched in October 2016.
The government announced the full “liberation” of eastern Mosul in January 2017. But the west of the city has presented a more difficult challenge, with its narrow, winding streets.
Iraq has also opened an inquiry into claims that its forces abused and killed civilians in the battle for the city.
Iraqi Officials Demand Compensation
After US Admits Killing Mosul Civilians
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(May 26, 2017) — Iraqi officials are demanding that the US compensate the victims of the March 17 airstrikes in Mosul, following the Pentagon finally admitting that they not only attacked the buildings, but had killed at least 105 civilians in the process.
Air Wars, which has been documented the civilian casualties of the US air wars in Iraq and Syria, put the actual civilian death toll of the strikes in excess of 230. In addition to more than halving the death toll, the Pentagon claimed there were ISIS snipers at the site, and that ISIS probably put explosives in the buildings.
Survivors of the attack continued to contest both of those claims, insisting that the whole reason they were massed in the buildings was because they were where ISIS wasn’t, and they hoped they’d be safe. Provincial officials are calling on the US to rebuild the homes of all the civilian victims of the attack.
That’s unlikely, at least in the near term, as the battle for Mosul’s Old City is still far from over, and there is no timetable for even starting reconstruction. Even when they do, the US offer of condolences did not home with any sort of pledge to pay for repairs of the buildings they destroyed, or anything else they destroyed within Mosul.
Officials have been warning for awhile that the reconstruction of Mosul will cost billions of dollars, and this likely adds to the efforts to get the US to pay at least part of that bill. The Trump Administration has not directly addressed this, but paying for reconstruction does not appear in keeping with President Trump’s stated position on the US getting compensated for the wars it fights.
Iraqis Demand Compensation
After US Probe into Mosul Strike
Rudaw & Associated Press
MOSUL, Iraq (May 26, 2017) — Iraqi officials demanded compensation from the US-led coalition following an investigation into a March 17 airstrike in which the Pentagon acknowledged a US bomb targeting Islamic State group fighters in Mosul set off a series of explosions that killed more than 100 civilians.
However, several residents of the Mosul neighborhood told The Associated Press on Friday there were no IS fighters or explosives inside the house struck by the US bomb.
“We call upon the international community and especially the United States to compensate the victims,” said Nuraddin Qablan, the deputy president of the Nineveh provincial council. The US should rebuild the homes of all the victims affected by the strike, he said, “so that the psychological damage will be mitigated.”
The Pentagon released the March 17 findings Thursday, reporting the airstrike targeted two IS snipers in a single building, setting off a series of explosions that killed 105 civilians. The Pentagon report added that another 36 civilians may have been at the building at the time, but “there is insufficient evidence to determine their status or whereabouts at this time.”
Civil protection rescue teams reported recovering more than 200 bodies from the area in the days following the March 17 strike. A number of other houses in the area were also destroyed by clashes between IS fighters and US-backed Iraqi forces around the same time, according to residents interviewed by The Associated Press, but the Pentagon investigation looked into the single March 17 airstrike that hit at 8:24 a.m. local time.
Residents of the al-Jadida neighborhood, interviewed by the AP on Friday countered the Pentagon conclusions that there were two IS snipers in the house struck by the bomb and that secondary explosions caused by explosives packed into the house by the extremists were largely responsible for the high civilian death toll.
“There were no explosives in the house, only families,” said Ahmed Abdul Karim, who was sheltering in his own home across from the house hit on March 17. “There were children in the basement and in the garden is where the women were.”
The bombing is the largest single instance of civilian deaths confirmed by the coalition in the nearly three-year-old campaign against IS and brings the total number of civilians confirmed killed by the Pentagon in the IS fight to 457.
Independent monitoring groups put the total number of civilian killed much higher, estimating thousands have been killed in Iraq and Syria since 2014, according to tallies kept by Iraq Body Count and Airwars.
The Mosul operation, launched in October, has been the largest and most difficult fight against IS since the extremists overran nearly a third of the country in 2014.
Mosul is Iraq’s second largest city after Baghdad and when the operation began more than a million civilians were estimated to still be living there, according to the United Nations.
While just a few small neighborhoods around western Mosul’s old city remain under IS control, coalition and Iraqi commanders have warned the most difficult battles may lie ahead as the city’s older districts are a densely populated warren of narrow streets and closely packed houses.
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