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e Pentagon has acknowledge that an explosion that may have killed as many as 200 civilians in Mosul earlier this month, was likely connected to the US backed coalition fighting to take the city from Islamic State. That's according to the top US commander in Iraq on Tuesday, Lieutenant General Steve Townsend.
But he says Islamic State may have still played a role, corralling residents for use as human shields. A tactic the UN has reported the militants have used against thousands. Reuters John Davison was on the front line.>> There are conflicting accounts about the number of people who were killed and the cause of the incident.
Local officials say it was an air strike, and they say that up to 200 people were killed. The Iraqi Army says that it was an explosion deliberately caused by Islamic State, and that dozens of people so far, around 60, have been killed.>> The blast happened on March 17th, in Mosul's al-Jadida district, and local officials say it collapsed several buildings.
As the coalition pushes deeper into the Islamic State stronghold, the fighting getting more chaotic.
d the risk to the people trapped there, multiplying. Caught between violence, if they flee, and starvation if they stay.>> Islamic State have been using crowded areas to fight from, and they've been setting up in homes and firing at troops using snipers and mortars from houses, including in Mosul's old city.
>> Townsend said that the type of munition that would have been used in the airstrike would not have caused a large enough explosion to collapse an entire building. Months into the siege of this city and more lives lost in the fog of war.