Iraq: Pentagon probe of Mosul airstrike underscores urgent need to protect civilians
As the Pentagon reports on its findings following the investigation into the US-led coalition airstrike that killed at least 100 civilians in West Mosul’s Jadida neighbourhood on 17 March 2017, Amnesty International said:
“The attack on the Jadida neighbourhood was a tragedy that alerted the world to the horrors being inflicted upon Iraqi civilians. Entire families are being killed inside their homes, where they are stuck between ground fighting and airstrikes.
“As the battle for Mosul draws to an end, there is no doubt that, once uncovered, the civilian death toll will raise alarm bells about the conduct of hostilities on all sides. Recent field visits to Mosul by Amnesty International have revealed that, Iraqi forces and the US-led coalition did not refrain from using explosive munitions in heavily populated areas, where civilians were being used as human shields by the group calling itself the Islamic State.
“While we welcome the US investigation into the Jadida airstrike, we are curious to know whether any lessons were learned and what steps were taken to ensure such horrors do not occur again.
“We are in no position at this stage to confirm or deny the results of the US investigation. But as long as the conflict in Iraq is still raging, we call on Iraqi and US-led coalition forces to desist from using explosive weapons with wide area effects, including artillery and mortars in crowded residential areas and to take all feasible precautions to avoid civilian casualties.”
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