A U.S.-led airstrike targeting a van carrying alleged militants from the Islamic State (ISIS) group has struck a hospital in the Iraqi city of Mosul, causing an unknown number of civilian casualties.
The incident happened on Thursday afternoon when coalition forces targeted a van that stopped on the property of the Ibn al-Athir Maternity and Children’s Hospital in northern Mosul, causing significant damage to parts of the hospital.
A statement from the Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF-OIR) said alleged ISIS militants were seen firing a recoilless gun before loading it into the van and driving off. The van was later targeted in an airstrike after it stopped at the hospital.
The statement from the coalition suggested that its forces were not aware that the building they targeted was being used as a hospital, even though the 213-bed facility is listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and other organizations.
Video released by a media wing of the Islamic State group showed a van that had been destroyed and damage to parts of the facility. The footage also showed multiple bodies, though BNO News was unable to independently confirm how many people were killed and how many may have been civilians.
“CJTF-OIR takes all allegations of civilian casualties seriously and this incident will be fully investigated and the findings released in a timely and transparent manner,” the coalition said in its statement, providing no further details.
Thursday’s incident happened during the ongoing military offensive to end the Islamic State’s occupation of Mosul, which is Iraq’s second largest city and was once home to about 2 million people. The offensive to liberate the city began in mid-October and is expected to continue for at least several more months.
Since the start of U.S.-led airstrikes in Syria and Iraq, the international coalition has acknowledged that it likely killed at least 173 civilians, but monitors believe that the true figure is well into the thousands. The vast majority of airstrikes are carried out by the United States.
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