US says civilians killed in Iraq strike against DAESH

US says civilians killed in Iraq strike against DAESH, claims 'it had no opportunity to detect presence of likely civilians'

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

US says civilians killed in Iraq strike against DAESH

US military said on Friday a US air strike that targeted a DAESH checkpoint in Iraq likely caused civil casualties.

In a rare statement, US authorities admitted that 4 civilians were killed in the strikes conducted on March 13 this year.

Following an investigation on the air strike, authorities found that “all reasonable measures” were taken, and concluded that the strikes on the civilians were unintended. At least one of the victims of the strike was a child. 

The report said that no civilians were detected in the area before the operation was initiated.

"If we knew there were civilians we would not have conducted a strike," Air Force Colonel Patrick Ryder, a spokesman for US Central Command, said on Friday.

The investigation was launched after an Iraqi woman claimed two vehicles including one that belongs to her was destroyed, and that the passengers were killed.

The complaint said two women and three children had been killed in the air strike by an A-10 tank-killer jet near al Hatra, Iraq.

However, a US military analysis indicated that only one of the victims appeared to be a child.  

The military report said a GMC sport-utility vehicle and a black Kia sedan arrived at the checkpoint and the drivers spoke to DAESH terrorists for about 40 minutes.

"Based upon the actions on the ground by the personnel at the checkpoint, the aircrew and CAOC personnel assessed that the drivers and vehicles, as well as the checkpoint, were ISIL and therefore lawful targets," report said. 

Four other people exited the vehicle just before “the aircrews had released weapons on the target and immediately before the weapons impacted the target area," the report said.

"Video footage review indicates the aircrew had no opportunity to detect the presence of the likely civilians in the target area prior to weapons impact," the investigation found.

US military is investigating dozen other similar incidents, however has rarely acknowledged causing civilian casualties in the war against DAESH.

US so far admitted six civilian deaths in the air strikes, including two children killed in an operation in November 2014.

TRTWorld and agencies