Iran’s top security official says US airstrikes in the Iraqi city of Mosul which reportedly killed large numbers of civilians in recent days should be urgently addressed in a court of justice.
“This war crime is similar to the behavior of Daesh and other Takfiri groups in targeting civilians and innocent people and should be urgently addressed in courts of justice,” Ali Shamkhani said on Sunday.
The US said Saturday that it had carried out a strike on a location in west Mosul on March 17 in which civilians were reportedly killed but Iraqi officials referred to more than one day of strikes.
“The intentionality or unintentionality of this criminal act does not lessen the American responsibility,” Shamkhani said.
The United Nations said it was “stunned by the horrendous loss of life” in the aerial attacks which reportedly killed more than 200 people in Daesh-held Mosul which is on the brink of being recaptured by Iraqi troops.
“Killing innocent people under the pretext of combating terrorism is the contemporary policy of the American army in the region,” said Shamkhani, who is the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council.
The US military said Friday that it was investigating the incident which would rank among the highest civilian death tolls in an American air mission since the United States began its new military campaign in Iraq in 2003.
The reports of civilian deaths in Mosul came immediately after two recent incidents in Syria in which activists and local residents said dozens of civilians had been killed in US airstrikes on a mosque in Jina in Aleppo Province.
The surge in civilian deaths has raised questions about whether the US rules of engagement were being further relaxed under the Trump administration which has pledged to fight Daesh aggressively.
Shamkhani said, “Any military operation and targeting of terrorists in the Iraqi or Syrian territory should be done with the official permission of those countries’ governments.”
“The UN Security Council has a duty to remind the governments which deem themselves above the United Nations of the need to respect the territorial integrity and national sovereignty of countries,” he added.