by WorldTribune Staff, March 28, 2017
A blast in Mosul in which 200 civilians were killed, which was attributed to a U.S. airstrike in some reports, was the result of an Islamic State (ISIS) bomb, Iraq’s military said.
U.S. Central Command spokesman Col. John Thomas told The New York Times that the U.S. was investigating whether the blast was caused by an American airstrike or an ISIS booby trap, but the U.S. has not corroborated the Iraqi military’s claim.
Hundreds of thousands of civilians remain inside ISIS-controlled Mosul and the terror group continues to use civilians as human shields, concentrating them in their areas of operations to deter U.S. airstrikes.
“Any military operation in the world in this type of environment, there’s going to be casualties,” an Iraqi military officer told The Wall Street Journal. “With this type of enemy, that risk goes up dramatically.”
In a statement, the Pentagon said it had targeted ISIS fighters and equipment “at the location corresponding to allegations of civilian casualties.”
An Iraqi counterterrorism commander said the March 17 strike was called in on an ISIS car bomb.
“When the (vehicle) was struck, it exploded, destroying one or two of the houses next to where families were hiding,” he told CNN.
Another Iraqi officer told The New York Times the blast was caused by an airstrike called on ISIS snipers on the roof of a building that Iraqi Security Forces did not know contained civilians.
When the Mosul operations began in mid-November, an Iraqi officer told The Washington Post: “If there were no civilians, we’d just burn it all.”