The U.S-led coalition forces are currently battling ISIS in what is said to be their last stronghold in Iraq, Mosul, where the terrorist group's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a caliphate from the local mosque. Blasting News summarized reports on the fight where it says that the ISIS fighters were using human shields around the mosque in an old part of the city. The article describes the care the U.S. military is claiming to take to make sure they don't target civilians. Other reports from the area, however, claim that more civilians are being killed by airstrikes than before either conducted by Iraqi or U.S.

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In one report by NPR titled: "U.S. Investigating Whether Its Mosul Airstrikes Caused Mass Civilian Casualties," it says that there have not been any announcements by U.S. forces to lift restrictions that prevent human casualties but that over the past few weeks, that number has increased. The mentioned Blasting News article quotes a commander of the fleet of Apache helicopters that apparently conduct most of the strikes, who said that most of his men have families themselves and so they're taking special care to avoid innocent deaths. The same commander even described a close call where he moved a missile that was already in the air away from their target when they learned that the militant had taken hostages.

More than 100 civilians killed in airstrike

The NPR article refers to Associated Press reporters who say that they saw 50 bodies recovered from buildings that were targeted in Western Mosul. On March 24, AP published a report titled: "US coalition investigating reports of deadly Mosul airstrike." One of the residents from the Mosul Jidideh neighborhood where two airstrikes were conducted said that there were over 137 people inside of the building that was hit because people took refuge there as the entire neighborhood were trying to get away from the airstrikes.

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Both airstrikes reported by the AP say that one hit the residential area on March 13 and that the second strike didn't happen until four days later. But the recent airstrike on Thursday has reportedly killed more people in the same neighborhood.

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Central Command said that they reviewed strike data and confirmed that they were going after militants in the area with reports of those killed. The Kurdish media outlet Rudaw said in their article: "UPDATE: US says coalition strikes match reports of casualties in W Mosul," that those bodies from the Jidideh neighborhood had been recovered, according to the Head of the Nineveh Provincial Council Bashar Kiki. But the reports appear to show a growing number of casualties in the recent airstrike which are said to be around 200. It also refers to an estimate from the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights which says that 700 civilians have been killed since February 19.

Iraqi troops pause battle against ISIS

The fight for Mosul started in October of 2016 and already at the time, it was said that fighting the Islamic State there would be difficult due to how densely populated the city is. It's only gotten worse in the Western part of the city and while it's said that this is the terror group's last stand before they're defeated, Rudaw reports that a spokesman for the Iraqi Federal Police said that they've halted operations to weigh plans and tactics and that combat will not continue in the meantime. Iraqi rescue workers who helped recover the bodies from the neighborhood said that they had problems getting to the site because of the battle. In many battles with the Islamic State in both Iraq and Syria, the terror group has gathered hostages in buildings and fired at coalition forces from rooftops, luring them to conduct airstrikes there.