Friday 23 February 2018

US admits killing 100 civilians in Mosul strike

A woman and child at a refugee camp near Mosul yesterday. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
A woman and child at a refugee camp near Mosul yesterday. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Idrees Ali in Washington

A US military investigation yesterday acknowledged that more than 100 civilians were killed in a US air strike on a building in the Iraqi city of Mosul in March during operations against Isil militants.

The probe concluded that the US strike in the Al-Jadida district inadvertently triggered explosives placed in the building by Isil fighters, causing it to collapse.

Local officials and eyewitnesses have said as many as 240 people may have died in the strike.

It is believed to be one of the single largest incidents of civilian casualties since the US-led coalition started operations against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Air Force Brigadier General Matthew Isler, who oversaw the investigation, told reporters that the March 17 strike was aimed at two Isil snipers. However, the 500-pound bomb triggered explosives inside the concrete building, collapsing it onto civilians.

Brig Gen Isler said the United States and nearby Iraqi forces did not know there were civilians in the building or that it had been rigged with explosives.

He added that 101 civilians inside the building were killed, four civilians were killed nearby, and 36 civilians were still not accounted for.

Prior to this investigation, the US-led coalition against Isil said that at least 352 civilians have been killed in strikes it carried out in Iraq and Syria since 2014. That estimate is far lower than those provided by outside groups.

Meanwhile, Iraq's Interior Ministry said it launched an investigation into allegations of human rights violations perpetrated by its forces fighting the Isil group in Mosul.

Irish Independent

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