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Pentagon responds to criticism over civilian deaths in Mosul blast

Pentagon responds to criticism over civilian deaths in Mosul blast

Votel also told the committee that almost 800 Iraqi security forces have been killed and 4,600 wounded in the increasingly brutal battle to retake Mosul from IS extremists that began last fall.

The military leaders will talk over ways to evacuate civilians from Islamic State group controlled western Mosul and how to avoid further civilian massacres from taking place, an Iraqi military official told The New Arab.

Iraqi forces are fighting IS in western Mosul, where some 2,000 IS fighters are launching fierce counterattacks. Jaafari highlighted the issue of reconstruction in talks with Guterres - a major challenge in areas that have been devastated by heavy fighting to retake them from IS.

They are facing about 100,000 Iraqi government forces, he added.

Officials airstrikes-in-their-homes-after-they-were-told-not-to-flee-mosul">said they suspect the building may have been booby-trapped or that the damage may have been caused by the detonation of a truck bomb.

A U.S. military spokesman said Thursday (March 30) that Islamic State fighters had been herding local Iraqi residents into buildings in western Mosul, calculating that rising civilian casualties would restrain the United States from using airstrikes to help retake that half the city. That decision removes a layer of approval that was previously needed, but still requires the commander on the ground to go through the same analysis and consideration of civilian casualties that has been done all along.

Officials and witnesses say air strikes have taken a devastating toll on those who remain.

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During that pause, the strike authority was delegated in order to have a quicker response to ISIS threats, Scrocca said. More than 200 civilians were reported killed in an airstrike earlier this month, and some have blamed United States forces for the airstrike. Just as critics of President Obama complained of his think-first, go-slow micromanagement, which Obama justified to avoid more USA deaths in a Middle East quagmire, President Trump is earning a reputation as a boss who wants a quick fix and doesn't care much how you got there.

USA military leaders say the ammunition used in the coalition strike on civilians this month was insufficient to explain the amount of destruction and number of casualties observed.

"It has caused some adjustments to our procedures", Col Scrocca said, though he declined to say what specific changes had been made.

An analysis by the Soufan Group consultancy warned that rumors and accusations of coalition atrocities "will certainly help shape popular opinion once Mosul and Raqqa are retaken, thus serving a goal for the next phase of the Islamic State's existence".

An Iraqi policeman kicks open the door of a house as fighting against IS militants continues on the western side of Mosul on Monday.

Donald Trump claimed he knew "more about ISIS than the generals do, believe me", and he'd "bomb the sh*t" out of them, getting a new policy reviewed in 30 days.

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