At least 17 killed in Baghdad bombing

Federal police members carry their weapons during a battle with Islamic State militants in Mosul

Federal police members carry their weapons during a battle with Islamic State militants in Mosul

He said militants are "smuggling civilians so we won't see them" into buildings and then attempting to draw an attack.

While many in the USA military may appreciate the increased autonomy, critics charge it is rising civilian death rates.

Video: More civilian casualties in Mosul?

"We are strongly hopeful that the liberation of Mosul will soon be completed".

The CENTCOM commander went on to say that Islamic State (IS, former ISIS/ISIL) is most likely to have a hand in this tragedy. Where it gets tricky is the means to the end.

Helicopters circling west Mosul strafed Islamic State positions beyond the city train station, the site of heavy back-and-forth fighting in recent days, and thick black smoke rose into the sky, Reuters reporters on the ground said.

Our conservative columnist offers a weekly take on everything from politics to pet peeves. "The enemy does use human shields, has little regard for human life", and tries to use reports of civilian casualties to hinder the Iraqi forces campaign supported by the coalition, so "they bear the responsibility for this as well", Votel said.

A recent US -led airstrike against the Islamic State's declared capital in Iraq has garnered severe condemnation from human rights groups across the globe.

ISIS kills 33 execution-style in Syria; 22 people in Iraq attack
The jihadist group continues to lose ground in Syria and Iraq, thanks to military forces fighting them in both countries. The Syria war began in 2011, when peaceful protests demanding democratic reforms were brutall crushed by regime forces.

"I believe that as we move into these urban environments, it is going to become more and more hard to apply an extraordinarily high standard" for preventing civilian casualties, "but we will try", head of the U.S. Central Command, Gen. Joseph Votel, told members of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee.

Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, the top US commander of American forces in Iraq, said Tuesday that the increase in civilian casualties has been "fairly predictable" given the heavily populated urban neighbourhoods.

Since the start of the Mosul military operation in October, more than 350,000 people have fled the fighting, according to United Nations figures.

Rescue teams work on the debris where more than 200 people were believed killed in Mosul last week.

Lucas Tomlinson is the Pentagon and State Department producer for Fox News Channel. "But now I fear the pendulum is swinging too far in the other direction". Local officials and eyewitnesses say as many as 240 people may have been killed in the al-Jadida district when a huge blast caused a building to collapse, burying families inside.

During that pause, the strike authority was delegated in order to have a quicker response to ISIS threats, Scrocca said. Many Americans think war "can be remote, precise, and bloodless". "Now we kind of know what it looks like ... we are looking for those signs".

Indira A.R. Lakshmanan in a Washington columnist and the Newmark chair in journalism ethics at the Poynter Institute.

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