Iraqi Special Forces Battle to Mosul Mosque, 17 Killed in Baghdad

Federal police members carry their weapons during a battle with Islamic State militants in Mosul Iraq

USA -backed Iraqi forces battling the Islamic State to liberate Mosul are suffering heavy casualties in the deadliest urban combat since World War II, according to top US commanders for the Middle East.

The attacks came as the Iraqi security forces backed by anti-IS global coalition are carrying out a major offensive to drive out the IS militants from its last major stronghold in Iraq's northern city of Mosul.

When asked in a congressional hearing about the standards used by the U.S. military to avoid civilian casualties on Wednesday, General Joseph Votel said it would be hard to apply those standards in the narrow, crowded streets of the Old City in west Mosul.

IOHR reported 197 children were taken hostage from al-Nouri Grand Mosque in western Mosul. Heavily populated urban environments like Mosul - where 400,000 civilians are pinned down by fighting - make it "more hard to apply extraordinarily high standards. although we will try". They also will review intelligence provided by the Iraqi forces.

In one instance, the officials said a precision USA strike took out the sniper but left the building intact. "We are in the final stage of liberating Mosul and our forces are exerting their utmost efforts to protect the civilians", Abadi said at a joint press conference with Guterres after their meeting. We do know he's pressing our military to go faster and has authorized more forces to fight. The Iraqi military said in a statement that 61 bodies were subsequently pulled from the ruins, while a municipal official said the death toll of the attack was as high as 240.

Helicopters circling west Mosul strafed ISIS positions beyond the city train station, the site of heavy back-and-forth fighting in recent days and thick black smoke rose into the sky, Reuters reporters on the ground said. He said the battle in the western portion of the city will be the toughest phase of the war, adding, "it is there that the enemy has invested two-and-a-half years of defensive preparations".

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An analysis by the Soufan Group consultancy warned that rumors and accusations of coalition atrocities "will certainly help shape popular opinion once Mosul and Raqqa are retaken, thus serving a goal for the next phase of the Islamic State's existence".

An Iraqi air force helicopter fires missiles against ISIS militants during a battle in Mosul, March 17, 2017. Just as critics of President Obama complained of his think-first, go-slow micromanagement, which Obama justified to avoid more USA deaths in a Middle East quagmire, President Trump is earning a reputation as a boss who wants a quick fix and doesn't care much how you got there.

He said most airstrikes in the fight against the Islamic State in Mosul are dynamic in nature and not planned, and that the strikes involved in the March 17th incident were likely dynamic.

At least 300 civilians have been killed in the offensive against IS in the western half of Mosul since mid-February, according to the United Nations human rights office - including 140 killed in a single March 17 airstrike on a building.

President Barack Obama was frequently criticized, with some reason, for micromanaging military strike decisions and exercising excessive caution. "[The Islamic State] is smuggling civilians into buildings so we won't see them, and trying to bait the coalition to attack". "Armed ISIS fighters forced civilians into a building, killing one who resisted, and then used this building against the CTS (Iraqi counter-terrorist forces)".

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