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Pentagon responds to criticism over civilian deaths in Mosul blast

Pentagon responds to criticism over civilian deaths in Mosul blast

The Pentagon on Thursday said it would soon release a video showing Islamic State militants herding civilians into a building in the Iraqi city of Mosul and then firing from it, the US military's latest response to an outcry over a separate explosion thought to have killed scores of civilians.

Amid reports of dozens civilians killed by airstrikes in Mosul, the statement said that "protection of civilians must be the absolute priority".

A senior United States general said on Wednesday it will be hard to maintain "extraordinarily high standards" to avoid civilian casualties in Mosul, even as the USA military begins a formal investigation into an explosion in the Iraqi city that is believed to have killed scores of civilians.

"We need more solidarity from the worldwide community", he said.

Scrocca said the USA -led coalition airstrikes in mid-March left the coalition with some culpability and it would be disingenuous to continue with credibility assessments.

Since the push began in February, it is estimated the number of IS fighters has been halved - leaving fewer than 1,000 remaining in the northern Iraqi city. "We are fed up", said Saqr Younis, who fled to Mosul when Islamic State arrived in his village in 2014.

Mr Guterres said he would "focus on the dire humanitarian situation on the ground".

More news: Government share in Lloyds dips below 2%

On Thursday, Iraq's militarized federal police inched deeper into Mosul's old city - a dense urban core in the city's western half - where they met with stiff resistance from IS militants.

American officers have inspected a collapsed building in Mosul, where upwards of 100 civilians, including women and children, were buried alive in the March 17 strike. After launching the operation to retake Mosul in October, Iraqi authorities in January declared they recaptured eastern Mosul, which is separated from the city's western neighbourhoods by the Tigris River.

Officials said they suspect the building may have been booby-trapped or that the damage may have been caused by the detonation of a truck bomb.

"For the first time we caught that on a video yesterday".

The bombardment, which also killed four other IS jihadists, destroyed a multimedia operation team, said another Defense Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

As fighting with ISIL rages in west Mosul, suicide attack on security checkpoint south of Iraqi capital also wounds 60.

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