An airstrike by the US-led coalition operating against Islamic State militants near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul hit a van in a hospital compound parking lot and may have killed civilians, the US military said on Thursday.
A van carrying Isis fighters was targeted and hit in the airstrike, the Combined Joint Strike Force said in a statement.
“The van was struck in what was later determined to be a hospital compound parking lot resulting in possible civilian casualties,” it said.
Earlier this month, the US said it had targeted a hospital complex in Mosul which was being used by Isis fighters.
In the past two years airstrikes from US, Russian and Saudi planes have hit hospitals in Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen and Iraq, and caused many civilian casualties.
Fighting continued in eastern Mosul on Thursday, as Iraqi troops backed by airstrikes and artillery broke a two-week lull in fighting with a multi-pronged assault.
Elite special forces pushed into the Karama and Quds neighbourhoods while army troops and federal police advanced into the Intisar, Salam and Sumor neighbourhoods. Columns of smoke rose overhead as explosions shook the city. Heavy machine gun fire echoed through the streets.
Stiff resistance by the militants, civilians trapped inside their houses and bad weather have slowed advances in the more than two-month offensive to recapture Iraq’s second largest city, the extremist group’s last urban bastion in the country.
The fight for Mosul is the biggest Iraqi military operation since the 2003 US-led invasion.
On Thursday, battle began around 7am on a bright but chilly day and continued until shortly before sundown.