Iraqi forces release videos countering claims of abuse

Pentagon officials announced Thursday the completion of an investigation confirming that a US airstrike in Mosul against the Islamic State group killed at least 105 civilians, AFP reported.

An unclassified summary of the USA military investigation into the March 17 incident determined that the 500-pound bomb used in the strike set off additional explosives that were placed in the building by the Islamic State, causing the collapse of the structure.

Gen. Matthew Isler said the bomb, dropped from an aircraft on March 17, was meant to kill two IS snipers.

The U.S. airstrike and secondary explosives collapsed the two-story structure.

Coalition aircraft responded to the calls for assistance with a 500-pound, GBU-38 precision-guided bomb. They said the size of the blast suggested there was four times as much explosive material as contained in the US bomb.

The deaths prompted Amnesty International to accuse the US -led coalition of not taking adequate precautions to protect people in Mosul, not providing a safe escape route for civilians, and using munitions that are too powerful.

"Our condolences go out to all those that were affected", said Maj Gen Joe Martin, commanding general of the Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command - Operation Inherent Resolve (CJFLCC-OIR).

He added that 101 civilians inside the building were killed, four civilians were killed nearby, and 36 civilians were still not accounted for.

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Late last month, the USA said at least 352 civilians had been killed in its airstrikes in Iraq and Syria since 2014, but rights groups provide a higher toll.

Before the release of the investigation, the USA -led coalition has acknowledged killing 352 civilians during its almost three-year-old air campaign over Iraq and Syria.

Isler said that civilians killed in the building may have gone there voluntarily because it was one of the best constructed in the area, and potentially went to the basement to escape the fighting raging around them.

Officials said IS may have deliberately rigged the building to explode and then used the snipers to intentionally provoke an air strike.

The coalition did not take the bait and no civilians were harmed, Isler said.

"Furthermore, weapons and structural experts concluded, based on extensive modeling, the structural damage to the building was in a different location, and was in excess of what could have been caused by a single GBU-38 munition", the coalition said. And it illustrates the hard urban fight USA and coalition forces are encountering, including what US officials describe as IS militants deliberately enticing attacks on buildings where they've staged explosives and know civilians are inside. "Neither coalition nor CTS forces knew that civilians were sheltered within the structure". The US military announced shortly afterward it was investigating report that it had caused civilian casualties.

The displaced civilians took refuge in the basement of the building because it included accommodations like a bathroom.

However, the western part of Mosul, with its narrow streets and heavily populated neighborhoods, appears to be a bigger challenge to the Iraqi forces. After being abused for days, ERD commanders would execute the detainees with a technique Arkady says the unit's personnel learned from United States instructors during military training.

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