IS Shoots Down Iraqi Helicopter over Mosul

IS Shoots Down Iraqi Helicopter over Mosul

The coalition has faced criticism for mounting civilian casualties in Mosul, the most controversial incident a March 17 strike in the Al-Jadida neighborhood of the city, which left at least 140 people dead, according to the United Nations.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the bombings but Islamic State militants have carried out scores of similar attacks to detract from the fighting in Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city.

Air strikes on the city by the Iraqi air force resumed on Tuesday as the sky cleared after several days of bad weather, the Iraqi military said.

A total of 31 bodies were taken to hospital, including 14 policemen, said Nawfal Mustafa, a doctor at the city's main hospital. Sporadic gunfire could be heard in the morning.

An Iraqi provincial official says suicide attacks in Tikrit, north of Baghdad, have killed at least 22 people.

The insurgents are putting up a stiff and fierce resistance in the remaining district under their control in northwestern Mosul and the densely populated Old City.

Iraq's military on Wednesday called on residents to shelter in their homes in jihadist-held areas of Mosul.

In February, Iraqi ground forces - backed by US -led coalition air power - began fresh operations aimed at ousting Daesh militants from western Mosul, the terrorist group's last bastion in northern Iraq.

Strikes by Iraqi helicopters are especially important for the country's interior ministry forces, which consistently complain of not receiving sufficient air support from the US-led anti-IS coalition.

ISIS has repeatedly targeted civilians with snipers, bombs and shelling in and around Mosul, and seized them for use as human shields.

More than 302,000 people have fled Mosul since the start of the offensive, with the International Organization for Migration saying 30,000 people were displaced last week alone.

Amnesty International said field research in east Mosul - which was recaptured from IS in January - showed "an alarming pattern of US-led coalition air strikes which have destroyed whole houses with entire families inside".

There has been no comment from the Iraqi government or the US -led coalition on the assertion.

"The high civilian toll suggests that coalition forces... have failed to take adequate precautions to prevent civilian deaths, in flagrant violation of global humanitarian law", said Amnesty's Donatella Rovera.



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