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United States admits Mosul air strike after civilian deaths reports

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Image Caption         A blast wall has been built using bricks from nearby destroyed homes

The jihadists have been sheltering behind families, mounting attacks from their homes while terrorising them into remaining in a bid to stave off attacks. "We had to stay". The west, including the Old City, is far more complicated, involving a civilian-dense urban battleground.

The confirmation followed a decision by Iraqi government forces to pause their drive to recapture west Mosul on Saturday because of the high rate of civilian casualties, a security forces spokesman said, a move apparently motivated by the incident on March 17.

When the operation to retake Mosul was launched, more than a million people were estimated to still be living in Mosul.

In a recent Twitter post, Iraqi Parliament Speaker Salim Jabouri said, "We realize the huge responsibility the liberating forces shoulder" while calling for them to "spare no effort to save the civilians".

Last week, there were reports of an air strike that left more than 100 civilians dead in a western part of Mosul where US-backed government troops are fighting so-called Islamic State.

The US-led coalition against so-called Islamic State appears to be failing to take adequate precautions to prevent civilian deaths during the battle for Mosul, Amnesty International says.

Confusion still surrounds the incident: Iraqi military authorities are saying the casualties were caused by booby traps the Islamic State had planted in the house, or by a suicide auto bomb that detonated nearby.

US Central Command said that it had opened an investigation "to determine the facts surrounding this strike and the validity of the allegation of civilian casualties".

"Heavy weapons will only be used when necessary, although suspending their use will increase losses in the ranks of our forces and postpone settling the battle", he added, saying the forces fighting IS will now focus on draining the extremist group while allowing civilians to leave.

Thousands of people are fleeing the Iraqi city of Mosul, held by the so-called Islamic State (IS) group, in fear of US-led air strikes and fierce fighting by Iraqi ground troops. Trump has granted a Pentagon request for the looser rules in three provinces of Yemen. Its coalition in Syria and Iraq is tasked with defeating the Islamic State.

America and the United Kingdom condemned Russian airstrikes that killed or injured hundreds of civilians during last autumn's siege of Aleppo, accusing Vladimir Putin of war crimes. The actual number remains unclear.

Mosul residents comfort each other after a wave of deadly airstrikes.

However, the Iraqi military said its experts had inspected the site and found no evidence of an air strike.

Belkis Wille, senior Iraq researcher at Human Rights Watch, told ARA News that the incident needs to be investigated and civilian deaths should be avoided. Locals said militants had positioned a sniper on the roof of the home that had sheltered the largest number of people. "Civilians die (unintentionally) in Mosul".

Regardless, the U.S.is investigating the reports, as the death toll from the strike still has yet to be confirmed. Iraqi Brigadier General Yahya Rasool said on TV: "In the next few days we will surprise Daesh terrorists by targeting and eliminating them using new plans". "This means that combatants can not use people as human shields and can not imperil lives through indiscriminate use of fire-power", she said.

Meanwhile in Jadidah on Monday, families were still recovering bodies from the rubble.

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