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UN chief: More funding needed for Iraq programs

UN chief: More funding needed for Iraq programs”

His visit comes as Iraqi forces battle to retake second city Mosul, which was seized by the Islamic State jihadist group in 2014.

Guterres arrived in Iraq amid a growing humanitarian crisis due to months-long fighting against the Islamic State group in Mosul, as the extremist group claimed responsibility for an overnight suicide attack in Baghdad.

During a meeting with prime minister Haider al-Abadi and president Fuad Masum, he said: "Iraq is in the final stages of its fight against terrorism".

The Islamic State has started using more sinister tactics in the five-month long fight for Mosul, a sign the terror group is getting even more desperate as its numbers dwindle, a spokesman for the USA -led coalition said on Thursday.

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"Since we believe a coalition strike contributed in at least some way to the civilian casualties, Lt. Gen. Townsend has directed that the civilian casualty assessment move directly to a formal 15-6 investigation for all allegations in the al-Jadidah neighborhood on or around March 17", Col. Joseph Scrocca said when he briefed reporters Thursday via a phone call from Baghdad. After the beginning the operation to retake Mosul in October, Iraqi authorities in January declared they have liberated eastern Mosul.

The US military has acknowledged the US-led coalition probably had a role in the March 17 explosion but said Daesh also could be to blame.

On Thursday, Iraq's militarized federal police inched deeper into Mosul's old city - a dense urban core in the city's western half - where they met with stiff resistance from IS militants.

"The situation is very good and the Iraqi air force is doing well".

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London-based NGO Airwars, which monitors civilian casualties of global air strikes, said victims of coalition bombs in Iraq and Syria increased in March to a level comparable with "some of the worst periods of Russian activity in Syria".

Since the west Mosul offensive began in mid-February more than 300 civilians have been killed, according to the United Nations - although it is not clear how many deaths are attributable to each side.

"For the first time we caught that on a video yesterday".

As fighting with ISIL rages in west Mosul, suicide attack on security checkpoint south of Iraqi capital also wounds 60.

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Three policemen were among the dead, along with civilians and health officials.



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