Smoke rises from the old city during a battle against ISIS militants, in Mosul, Iraq, March 29, 2017. REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal
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A senior U.S. general said on Wednesday it will be difficult to maintain "extraordinarily high standards" to avoid civilian casualties in Mosul, even as the U.S. military begins a formal investigation into an explosion in the Iraqi city that is believed to have killed scores of civilians.When asked in a congressional hearing about the standards used by the U.S. military to avoid civilian casualties, General Joseph Votel said it would be difficult to apply those standards in the narrow, crowded streets of the Old City in west Mosul.U.S. officials have said that an increase in civilian casualties was to be expected as the war against the insurgents entered its deadliest phase.Votel said that ISIS militants were aware of U.S. sensitivities to civilian casualties and were exploiting them by using human shields in Mosul.
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