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Dozens of Mosul civilians killed by overnight US, Iraq airstrikes

Smoke rises during the operation to retake Iraq's Mosul from Daesh terrorists in Mosul, Iraq on March 7, 2017 [Yunus Keleş/Anadolu]
Smoke rises during the operation to retake Iraq's Mosul from Daesh terrorists in Mosul, Iraq on March 7, 2017 [Yunus Keleş/Anadolu]

Iraqi local and security sources have said today that dozens of civilians have been killed with dozens more wounded after airstrikes conducted by the Iraqi government and the US-led coalition against neighbourhoods in western Mosul.

According to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, the aerial bombardment lasted for most of last night in an attempt to facilitate further Iraqi government advances in areas of western Mosul held by Daesh militants. The airstrikes targeted the Zanjabili, Rifai, Islah and Yarmouk neighbourhoods, as well as the Old City itself.

The Iraqi government is predominantly backed by the US-led coalition, as well as Iran-backed Shia jihadists who fight under the banner of the Iraqi-sanctioned Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), as well as units loyal to the interior ministry.

Read: Iraq unleashes mass destruction, death & displacement on Mosul

The bombardment began at 01:00 and continued for four hours, ending at around 05:00 local time, with local sources confirming that no less than 50 civilians were killed, most of them women and children. Dozens more were wounded by the strikes.

Military sources in Mosul confirmed the shelling and airstrikes, saying that they targeted areas that are contested between the Iraqi government and Daesh militants, and admitting that "some of the missiles [fired by the Iraqi military] fell on the houses of civilian residents."

The chief of an Iraqi NGO, Peace for Human Rights, told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that organisations such as his were exerting efforts to evacuate the dead and wounded. He also expressed concern that "the other side", meaning Daesh, were not providing any guarantees for these evacuations to take place.

Read: Mosul is between war and sectarian violence

In February, Airwars, an independent organisation that tracks civilian casualties suffered as a result of the military action against Daesh, recorded that up to 195 civilians were killed in Mosul as a result of coalition airstrikes alone, with a further 166 injured.

In addition to reports that at least 50 were killed in airstrikes in west Mosul today alone, Airwars' statistics show that civilians are being killed in high numbers, and to a disproportionate level.

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