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Up to 80 civilians killed in US air strikes, says UN
June 11, 2017
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Baghdad: The UN’s human rights office has said that an initial investigation has confirmed that between 50 — 80 Iraqi civilians were killed in a recent US-led coalition bombing of Mosul, while hundreds more died at the hands of Daesh militants.

Strikes on May 31 were reported to have caused civilians deaths, but the death toll was not clear. Around 231 more people are thought to have died from Daesh shelling, snipers and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) fleeing the west of the city at around the same time.

The UN is still seeking additional information.

News of the investigation emerges at the same time rights groups are stepping up calls for the coalition to do more to protect civilians in the fight to eliminate Daesh from the last neighbourhoods of their Iraqi stronghold.

Heavy ordnance, such as 227 kilogramme air-delivered bombs, are causing excessive and disproportionate damage to civilian life and property, organisations including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the Centre for Civilians in Conflict warned in a report published on Thursday.

The groups said the use of such weaponry — and the bombing of densely populated areas where civilians are used as human shields — could amount to war crimes.

US Central Command (CentCom) insists it “takes extraordinary efforts to strike military targets in a manner that minimises the risk of civilian casualties,” although “In some incidents casualties are unavoidable.”

The US-led coalition has admitted killing at least 484 civilians in air strikes in Syria and Iraq since the bombing campaign began in 2014. Independent monitors say the death toll actually runs into the thousands, with transparency project Airwars claiming at least 3,800 civilians have been killed.

According to Airwars data there has been a 400 per cent increase in civilian casualties caused by US-led bombing since the twin assaults on Mosul and Raqa in neighbouring Syria got underway last autumn.

The Independent
 

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