On March 17, US warplanes attacked a handful of buildings in the city of Mosul, leveling the buildings and burying a massive number of civilians within. US officials have since admitted that they were “probably” responsible for the deaths of civilians in the attacks.
Estimates varied, and the Iraqi government has now offered some guidance on the matter, confirming they’ve recovered 278 civilian bodies from the rubble so far, and that there are still more to be found. This was at the higher end of estimates previously offered by third parties.
This confirmation of the toll, which is likely to keep rising as bodies are found, already makes this the single deadliest US strike of the entire ISIS war. It is also in the ballpark of the deadliest airstrikes in the history of modern warfare.
With Pentagon officials conceding at least “probable” blame, and Iraq providing specific death tolls, it remains to be seen how the Pentagon will handle this incident in next month’s report on civilian tolls. The Pentagon’s reports usually dramatically under count the number of civilians claimed, but the sheer size of this incident will make it difficult to bury.