Conflicting accounts emerged on Sunday about an explosion in Iraq’s Mosul a week ago after a U.S.-led coalition strike against Islamic State that local officials say collapsed buildings, killing and burying many people.
Iraq’s military said 61 bodies had been recovered from a destroyed building that Islamic State had booby-trapped in west Mosul, but that there was no sign the building had been hit by a coalition air strike.
The military statement differed from reports by witnesses and local officials that said many more bodies were pulled from the building after a coalition strike targeted IS militants and equipment in the Jadida district.
A Nineveh province health official said on Sunday that 160 bodies had been officially buried after they were recovered from the site where eyewitnesses said buildings had been flattened by the March 17 blast.
“Six alleyways of the neighborhood were completely destroyed,” the official, who asked not to be named for security reasons, told Reuters. “Civil defense has extracted and buried 160 bodies up to this moment.”
What happened on March 17 remains unclear and details are difficult to confirm as Iraqi forces battle with Islamic State to recapture the densely populated parts of the western half of Mosul.
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