The Pentagon announced Monday it will be sending at least 240 more U.S. soldiers to northern Iraq within the next 36 hours. The troops are from the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Heavy fighting continues in west Mosul, despite reports over the weekend that the U.S.-backed Iraqi Army had suspended its offensive amid revelations U.S.-led coalition airstrikes have killed hundreds of people in recent weeks. One U.S.-led coalition airstrike on March 17 may have killed up to 200 civilians—marking one of the deadliest strikes since the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003.
On Monday, Amnesty International acused Iraqi officials of telling Mosul residents not to flee amid the airstrikes and ground offensive, instead dropping leaflets and broadcasting over the radio that civilians should stay in their houses. Amnesty said, « The fact that Iraqi authorities repeatedly advised civilians to remain at home instead of fleeing the area, indicates that coalition forces should have known that these strikes were likely to result in a significant numbers of civilian casualties. Disproportionate attacks and indiscriminate attacks violate international humanitarian law and can constitute war crimes. »