Mosul (IraqiNews.com) The Iraqi military command which fought Islamic State militants in Mosul denied Thursday a report by The Independent which put the civilian death toll throughout the almost nine-month campaign at 40.000.
In a statement published by the Defense Ministry’s War Media Cell, the Iraqi Joint Operations Command said the numbers provided by the British newspaper were “inaccurate”.
“The official figures released by the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps stated that the number of bodies pulled from the rubble amounted to 1,429 bodies, while 102 other civilians were rescued and 200 families were evacuated,” read the statement.
The command said editors overlooked facts that the liberation battles were postponed in order to save the “innocent souls”, and that “liberating civilians comes before liberating the land,” as the statement put it.
“Kurdish intelligence believes that over 40,000 civilians have been killed as a result of massive firepower used against them, especially by the federal police, air strikes and ISIS itself,” Hoshyar Zebari, former Iraqi finance and foreign minister, told the Independent.
Zebari suggested that many bodies were still buried under the rubble, stressing that ‘he level of human suffering was “immense”.
A week ago, Airwars, a London-based independent organization, said that the United States-led coalition against Islamic State killed 5,805 civilians in the city between 19 February and 19 June.
The Independent said that residents of Mosul were killed by Iraqi ground forces attempting to expel IS elements, as well as by air strikes and the elements of the terror group, noting that the overall toll was higher than official estimates.
On July 10, the Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi declared, victory in the city of Mosul, ending an eight-month campaign backed by a U.S.-led coalition and paramilitary forces, which has displaced more than 900.000 civilians.