Thursday, May 25, 2017

US says Mosul strike in March killed over 100 civilians

Another 36 unaccounted for in single most deadly incident for civilians since anti-ISIL operations began in 2014.

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A US-led air strike in March against a building in the Iraqi city of Mosul killed more than 100 civilians, the Pentagon has said after concluding an investigation into the attack.
The March 17 coalition air strike in al-Jadidah district of Mosul targeted two snipers of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group in the building who had engaged with Iraqi counterterrorism forces, the statement said on Thursday.
Neither coalition nor Iraqi forces knew that the civilians were in the building, nor did they know that ISIL, also known as ISIS, had placed explosives in the building that triggered a secondary explosion, the Pentagon said in a statement.
The two snipers, 101 civilians sheltered in the bottom floors of the building and four civilians in a neighbouring structure were killed, the statement said.
An additional 36 civilians remain unaccounted for, it said.
The Mosul strike was the single deadliest incident for civilians arising from a coalition strike since anti-ISIL operations in Iraq and Syria nearly three years ago.

No condolence payments

The US-led coalition said a local commander ordered the air strike, which was then carried using a single precision-guided bomb.
The Pentagon statement said it was "the most appropriate and proportionate means of engagement to neutralise the threat and to minimize collateral damage".
The statement quoted Major-General Joe Martin, the commanding general of coalition forces, expressing condolences to everyone affected.
"The coalition takes every feasible measure to protect civilians from harm. The best way to protect civilians is to defeat ISIS."
US Air Force Brigadier-General Matt Isler said: "The secondary explosion triggered a rapid failure of the structure which killed the two ISIS snipers, 101 civilians sheltered in the bottom floors of the structure and four civilians in the neighbouring structure to the west."
No condolence payments have been made, Isler said, though such a move has not been ruled out.
The US had previously only acknowledged that it "probably" had a role in the civilian deaths.
The investigation comes amid broader claims that US forces under President Donald Trump are killing more civilians as the military fulfils a plan to "annihilate" ISIL.
As of the most recent US military count at the end of April, a total of 396 civilians had been killed since the beginning of the bombing campaign against ISIL nearly three years ago.
The 105 figure from the March incident would push that number beyond 500.
Airwars, a London-based collective of journalists and researchers that tracks civilian deaths in Iraq and Syria, claims a minimum of 3,350 people have been killed in coalition strikes.

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