Published: Sun, December 11, 2016
Medical | By Dorothy Lyons

Iraqi official: Anti-IS airstrike killed, wounded civilians

There was no official Iraqi military comment on the fighting but the army officer, whose forces were involved in the clashes, said they had come under multiple attacks by suicide auto bombers in the Al-Wahda district where the hospital is located. "We need everything", Salih said.

"They are surrounded now in Al-Salam hospital. we are on the way so we can open a passage for them", he said. They have been hitting fierce resistance from Islamic State insurgents who took control of the city two years ago.

"When we reached them, they barely had any bullets left", a special forces officer said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief reporters. Eight armoured personnel carriers (APCs) were also destroyed in the fighting that led to an Iraqi withdrawal, Amaq said. It will lose the territorial depth that provided a population from which to draw fighters and wide space to freely operate, whether rigging explosives for suicide attacks or developing chemical weapons.

"ISIS in Iraq is an old organization and it is prepared to go back to the desert, back to being both an insurgency and a terrorist group", said Hanna, using one of several acronyms for the group.

After three days of fighting, Iraqi tanks and armored vehicles had managed to assemble at a site in the Wahda neighborhood, a resident said.

It said the army was holed up in the hospital compound and had suffered heavy losses.

The Iraqi officer said that when the troops were inside the hospital complex, fighting off the militants, they came under attack from suicide bombers who he said either infiltrated through tunnels or had been hiding in the hospital grounds.

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The figure showed air power and a small number of United States figures supporting local forces were having an impact, the official said.

Those figures could not be confirmed.

"I am not into morbid counts but that kind of volume matters, that kind of impact on the enemy", the official said, calling the 50,000 number a conservative estimate. Alongside those figures it showed a picture of a smouldering tank, its turret blown off, next to a crater in the road. Iraq will focus on intelligence work, surgical airstrikes and a higher level of cooperation with the West to counter an expected move by the Islamic State group away from holding territory and back to a more classic role as an underground terror organization. Among the victims were 12 women and 19 children.

At least 52 people have been killed when air strikes by Iraqi forces mistakenly targeted civilians gathering in the ISIL-held western city of al-Qaim, military officials said.

Operation Inherent Resolve said in a statement that the strike was targeting ISIS fighters.

"Partners are rushing to bring trauma care closer to the front lines to give injured civilians the best chance of survival", the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

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