- A man carries the body of an Iraqi child who was killed in an airstrike targeting Islamic State (IS) group jihadists in west Mosul on March 17, 2017. © Aris Messinis
Iraqi official urges Washington to compensate for US-led airstrike that killed over 100 civilians
"We call upon the international community and especially the United States to compensate the victims," said Nuraddin Qablan, deputy president of the Nineveh provincial council, as quoted by AP.
He said the US should rebuild the homes of the victims, "so that the psychological damage will be mitigated."
The Pentagon investigation, released Thursday, admitted that more than 100 civilians were killed in the March 17 attack in Mosul's al-Jadida neighborhood, but largely placed the blame on Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).
The probe said the airstrike was launched after two IS snipers began firing at troops from Iraq's Counterterrorism Service. It also said that Iraq requested the strike and the subsequent explosions were caused by devices planted by IS inside the targeted building.
However, residents of the al-Jadida neighborhood countered the investigation's claims on Friday, with some stating that there were no explosives in the house.
"There was no ammunition or anything like that,” Ahmed Abdul Karim, whose brother died in the strike, told AP. “In the basement there were the children, and when you get out from there, in the yard there were the women. And in the rooms in the front there were the men. And on the second floor there were families, too. There was no ammunition or anything like that in the house. There was nothing there and they had no relationship with Daesh [Islamic State]."
Manhal Samir, who lives across the street from the building, said he did see an IS sniper on the roof that morning, but said he came down before the house was hit.
He agreed that there were no explosives in the house, saying he would have noticed since he lives so close.
"Impossible, impossible. Not even a pistol bullet, not even a rifle bullet, was in the house. We see everything here 24 hours a day, my house is just opposite his. We know who is coming in and who is coming out. It was only two Daeshis [IS militants], going up and down the street. Not even three, only two," Samir said.
The March 17 bombing is the largest instance of civilian deaths confirmed by the US-led coalition since its campaign began in 2014, bringing the number of confirmed deaths to 457. However, independent monitoring groups estimate that thousands of civilians have been killed across Iraq and Syria.