UPDATE, 1830 GMT: A US Central Command statement has confirmed that coalition planes carried out the attacks on 17 March “at the request of the Iraqi security forces”, pledging to formally investigate the claims.
Iraqi military sources confirmed they had been ordered not to launch new operations.
UPDATE, MARCH 25, 1000 GMT: The US-led coalition said it is conducting an investigation into the airstrikes that reportedly killed more than 200 people in Mosul.
A coalition statement said it has “opened a formal civilian casualty credibility assessment on the allegation”, while maintaining that its forces “take all reasonable precautions during the planning and execution of airstrikes to reduce the risk of harm to civilians”.
US Central Command spokesman Col. John Thomas said the military was not sure if the explosion was caused by an American or other coalition airstrike or an ISIS “bomb or bobby trap”, but Iraqi Major General Maan al-Saadi, a special forces commander, said his men had called in a coalition airstrike to deal with snipers on the roofs of three houses in the al-Jadida district.
Saadi said said his troops did not know the basements of the houses were filled with civilians.
Another Iraqi special officer said there has been a “noticeable relaxing” of the coalition’s rules of engagement since Donald Trump became US President.
ORIGINAL POST, MARCH 23: At least 230 people have been killed in airstrikes on the city of Mosul, the Islamic State’s central position in Iraq, according to the Iraqi Kurdish website Rudaw.
— Rudaw English (@RudawEnglish) March 23, 2017
The attacks were on the al-Jadida neighborhood. Most of the victims are believed to be civilians, with the Rudaw correspondent in Mosul saying 130 of the people were killed inside one building and about 100 others hit inside another.
The Iraqi army has halted operations in the neighborhood due to the bombing. Military officials told Rudaw that ISIS militants are deeply entrenched inside civilian homes.
The Iraqi offensive has taken the area of Mosul east of the Euphrates River and is seeking to complete the capture of the districts to the west. However, progress has been slow amid fierce ISIS resistance in the narrow streets of the densely-populated area.
Hundreds of thousands of civilians are believed to still be in western Mosul.
TOP PHOTO: US military footage of a March 10 strike “destroying an Islamic State headquarters building near Mosul”