'Whole families perished': Survivor recalls horror of deadly airstrike on Mosul's Zanjili district

© Karim Sahib / AFP
Smoke billows in western Mosul's Zanjili neighbourhood as government forces advance in the area during their ongoing battle against Islamic State (IS) group fighters on May 31, 2017.

Whole families were killed in an airstrike that reportedly took the lives of 80 people in the Islamic State-held Zanjili district of Mosul, Iraq, on May 31, a survivor of the attack said.

"I was at home in Zanjili. Airplanes hit our street and we went to rescue people under the rubble," Manhal Mohammed Jasem told RT's Ruptly video agency.

The bombardment brought down at least "four houses," causing the death of "approximately four families," he said.

Jasem said that he and his neighbors rushed to help those in trouble, removing several "women, children and men" from the debris.

Those, who were beyond rescuing, "we left them under the rubble," he added.

According to Mahal, the survivors packed their belongings and fled Zanjili district shortly after the airstrike.

Last week, the UN Human Rights Office addressed the bombing of Zanjili district where "a strike on May 31 reportedly caused between 50 and 80 civilian deaths."

"The UN Human Rights Office in Iraq is seeking further information about these attacks," it said in statement.

The UN body, which stopped short of blaming the US-led coalition for the deadly airstrike, concluded its statement with a call for "the Iraqi Security Forces and their Coalition partners to ensure that their operations comply fully with international humanitarian law and that all possible measures are taken to avoid the loss of civilian lives."

UN Human Rights Office spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani later said that "it is very difficult to determine which planes carried out the airstrikes" and if there was "a legitimate military target" in Zanjili.

The US-led coalition has been carrying out a bombing campaign in Mosul to assist the Iraqi forces, which are fighting to liberate the last IS stronghold in the country.

Earlier, the Pentagon confirmed the death of over a hundred civilians in an airstrike on Mosul's al-Jadida neighborhood in March.

However, it insisted that the destruction was caused by bombs from the US warplanes triggering secondary explosions from devices planted by IS fighters.

The US Central Command (CentCom) said in early June that at least 484 civilians have died in the Coalition's airstrikes in Syria and Iraq since the bombings began in 2014.

CentCom stressed that it "takes extraordinary efforts to strike military targets in a manner that minimizes the risk of civilian casualties," but added that "in some incidents casualties are unavoidable."

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by via Signs of the Times