U.S. to Conduct Formal Investigation into Mosul Bombings that Resulted in Civilian Deaths

Joseph Votel, Head of the U.S. Central Command, confirmed at a hearing on March 29 that a formal investigation will be launched into the March 17 explosion in West Mosul.

The explosion collapsed a building and is believed to have killed scores of civilians.

“There is a fair chance that we may have contributed to this, so now we have moved to the investigation phase. It will be a more formalized approach to really look into the details of this as much as we can to establish what happened, establish what the facts are, identify accountability, and then certainly identify the lessons learned out of that,” Votel said at the House Armed Services Committee Hearing.

Votel said the formal investigation will help clarify if there were other things that may have contributed, hinting at suspected ISIS involvement.

Votel noted that the scale of the explosion was not consistent with the small amount of U.S. munitions used in the operation.

U.S. forces have been conducting airstrikes in the area in a bid to clear out ISIS terrorists from the city.

According to the U.N., ISIS has been using civilians as human shields in the conflict, increasing the risk to Mosul’s civilian population.

Iraqi security forces have sustained about 284 killed, with over 1,600 wounded, since they began to retake the western half of Mosul on Feb 17.

The International Organization for Migration estimates approximately 122,000 individuals left the city in the past month alone.