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US opens formal investigation of civilian deaths in Mosul

FILE – Friday, March 24, 2017, file photo, civil protection rescue teams work in the rubble of a house destroyed in order to repair the body of the people who were killed during clashes between the Iraqi security forces and Islamic State militants on the western side of Mosul, Iraq. Iraqis in the northern city of Mosul are still burying their dead after a US airstrike killed more than 100 people over the past week, and rights groups express alarm about a recent spike in civilian deaths. In iraq have defended their conduct in the war against the Islamic State group, and their advice to citizens to shelter in place as the U.S.-backed forces try to take the extremists of the last urban stronghold in the country. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File)

(Associated Press)

WASHINGTON – The top U.S. general for the Middle East, says the military has launched a formal investigation to determine what role the U.S. played in the death of dozens of citizens in Mosul, Iraq.

Gen. Joseph Votel, head of U.S. Central Command, said fighting in the densely populated areas of Mosul is making it more difficult to avoid civilian casualties.

Votel, says the probe will look at what the Islamic State militants to contribute to the death, including the use of human shields, on March 17. He says that they exploit the power of America’s sensitivities about civilian deaths.

Votel tells the House Armed Services Committee of the combat situation evolves. He says that the research will be intelligence provided by Iraqi troops.

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