US-led strike caused civilian deaths in Mosul

A coalition airstrike on an ISIS truck laden with explosives led to the deaths of dozens of civilians in Mosul, a senior Iraqi officer said Sunday.

The US-led coalition has acknowledged hitting a vehicle carrying explosives in the March 17 strike -- though US officials have not confirmed the Iraqi military's account of exactly what happened.

Confusion has surrounded events during airstrikes on the city between March 17 and 23 after allegations emerged that as many as 200 civilians had been killed there.

Bashar al Kiki, chairman of the Nineveh Provincial Council and the source of the death toll, backed off the figure Sunday, saying that 200 was the death toll from multiple locations, citing his sources. He did not provide further details.

The US-led coalition confirmed Saturday that it had carried out an airstrike on March 17 "at the location corresponding to allegations of civilian casualties."

Col. Muntathar Al-Shamari, the head of the Iraqi Counterterrorism Unit in Mosul, said that, prior to the airstrike, Iraqi counterterrorism forces had asked the US-led coalition to engage an ISIS vehicle that had been loaded with explosives.

"When the (vehicle) was struck, it exploded, destroying one or two of the houses next to where families were hiding," he said.

Al-Shamari characterized the report of 200 dead as an exaggeration.

Around 130 people were hiding in one of the homes, Iraqi Joint Military Command spokesman Brigadier General Yahya Rasool said.