UN chief meets Iraqi leaders to support fight against IS

Amnesty International has said the high civilian toll in Mosul suggests US -led coalition forces have failed to take adequate precautions to prevent civilian deaths.

The Islamic State has started using more sinister tactics in the five-month long fight for Mosul, a sign the terror group is getting even more desperate as its numbers dwindle, a spokesman for the US -led coalition said on Thursday.

At his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, Francis said he was "concerned about civilian populations trapped in the neighborhoods of western Mosul".

A person familiar with a Wednesday phone call between President Donald Trump and Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi, said the Iraqi premier did raise the subject of the strike and civilian deaths.

Confusion still surrounds the incident: Iraqi military authorities are saying the casualties were caused by booby traps the Islamic State had planted in the house, or by a suicide auto bomb that detonated nearby.

The fight to retake the city has triggered a number of humanitarian concerns, with more than 350,000 people fleeing the battle since the government offensive on Mosul began in October, according to United Nations figures.

"Two terrorists were killed and our forces are now tracking down four or five others", he said. Local officials and eyewitnesses say as many as 240 people may have been killed in the al-Jadida district when a huge blast caused a building to collapse, burying families inside.




"For the first time we caught that on a video yesterday".

Testifying before the House Armed Services committee Wednesday, General Joseph Votel of US Central Command insisted the military has the highest standards for protecting civilian life and the rules of engagement haven't changed. Officials said, 3 policemen were among the dead while the rest were civilians and a number of policemen were also injured. The military is now regrouping and attempting to discuss the most efficient way to reclaim Mosul without killing innocent civilians. "The Iraqi security forces are putting themselves in the line of fire in order to protect civilians".

USA officials have said they are investigating other claims of casualties in Syria and Iraq.

When commenting on the deadly airstrike, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis insinuated that Islamic State fighters had hidden "behind women and children".

Headed by an Air Force brigadier general, Votel said the investigation will look at what role the USA military and ISIS may have played in the civilian deaths.

"We know what to look for", Scrocca said.

Iraqi forces launched a major operation to retake Mosul last October, retaking its eastern side before setting their sights on the smaller but more densely populated west.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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