Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) An airstrike targeting a medical unit supposedly occupied by Islamic State militants in the Mosul district of Hammam al-Alil last October killed eight civilians, according to Human Rights Watch, which urged air forces engaged in battles against the group to ensure civilians’ safety.
“On October 18, without warning, an airstrike hit the local clinic in the town of Hammam al-Alil, 30 kilometers southeast of Mosul, which was under ISIS control, according to a United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs official, three healthcare workers, and a local official,” the organization said on Tuesday. “The healthcare workers said that the attack, at about 9:30 a.m., killed at least eight civilians, including five children, and wounded at least two more,” it added.
It quoted one health worker saying that 50 people were inside the clinic at the time of the air raid.
Iraqi and US-led international air forces have been waging airstrikes against ISIS in Mosul since operations kicked off mid October to recapture the city from the extremist group. But civilians stranded in the middle of fighting, many of whom are reportedly held as potential human shields, slow down the progress of security operations, according to Iraqi government and volunteer militias commanders.
“ISIS fighters’ despicable positioning inside a protected health facility south of Mosul put civilians, including patients, at risk and needs to stop immediately,” said Lama Fakih, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Forces attacking ISIS should take all necessary measures to minimize harm to civilians, including those that ISIS forces may have placed at risk.”