2017-3-29 16:34




March 27, 2017

From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm Joe Parker reporting.

Iraqi army says ISIS could be behind the civilian deaths.

The Iraqi military is casting doubt on reports that the U.S.-led coalition airstrikes killed as many as 100 civilians in the contested city of Mosul, citing new evidence it says shows Islamic State militants rigged the site with explosives.

A Pentagon statement on Saturday said an "initial review" showed coalition strikes on March 17 "at the location corresponding to the allegations of civilian casualties" in western Mosul's Old City. The statement said an investigation is underway.

Earlier today, the deputy commanding general for Operation Inherent Resolve, Brigadier General [Mike] Matthew Isler, said he could not comment on the investigations, but said they are continuing.

"And we will use those investigations to modify our tactics, techniques and procedures so that we continue to take all feasible measures to protect innocent civilians."

The Pentagon statement also said coalition planes routinely strike ISIS targets in the neighborhood and coalition forces take all reasonable precautions during the planning and execution of airstrikes to reduce the risk of harm to civilians.

In the meantime, Mosul still the scene of much bloodshed today. At least two people were killed and many others injured after three projectiles hit a busy market in east Mosul on Sunday afternoon.

East Mosul was declared liberated by the Iraqi government earlier this year, but the battle for control over the western part is still raging.

Ten thousand Russian protesters chanting "Russia without Putin" and "Russia will be free" have demonstrated by the thousands in cities across the country in support of a call by Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny for accountability among the Russian elite.

This is VOA news.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan rebuked Switzerland on Sunday over a protest in Bern during which images from the demonstration showed a poster depicting (the ) Turkish leader with a pistol pointing at his head.

The Turkish president said, "In the Swiss parliament, they hang my picture with a gun to my head. The Swiss parliament remains silent in the face of this. Our Foreign Ministry made the necessary contacts and we will whatever is necessary in the face of this incident."

The Turkish Foreign Ministry did summon the Swiss ambassador over the protest it said was organized by supporters of terrorist groups.

On Saturday, several thousand people including Kurdish protesters joined a rally in the Swiss capital, calling for a "No" vote in Turkey's April 16 referendum that could give sweeping powers to Erdogan under a constitutional overhaul.

One person was killed and 15 other people were wounded in a shooting at a crowded nightclub early Sunday in morning Cincinnati in the U.S. Midwestern state of Ohio.

Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac: "Several local men got into some type of dispute inside the bar and it escalated into shots being fired from several individuals. As a result, there were 16 people that sustained gunshot injuries, one of which is deceased."

Isaac did not say if the shooters were among those wounded, adding there are "a lot of interviews still to be done, a lot of evidence to process."

Authorities in Bahrain say they smashed a terror cell responsible for last month's bus attack and planning to murder senior officials.

The state-run news agency quoted Interior Ministry officials on Sunday as saying 14 people were arrested.

The officials say the suspects were backed by two exiled Bahrainis living in Iran. Some of the suspects were trained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard or Iraqi terrorists.

Bahraini officials say those arrested on Sunday were responsible for the February 26 bus bombing in Bahrain that wounded five policemen.

A U.S. counter-terrorism airstrike earlier this month in Afghanistan killed an al-Qaeda leader responsible for a deadly hotel attack in Islamabad in 2008 and a 2009 attack on a bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team.

The U.S. Defense Department is confirming the death of Qari Yasin.

Authorities say Yasin was a senior terrorist, a figure from Baluchistan, Pakistan, with ties to a Taliban group.

The airstrike that led to his death was conducted March 19 in a province of Afghanistan.

For more on all these stories, visit our website at voanews.com. Joe Parker reporting from Washington.

That's the latest world news from VOA.

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