US-led coalition admits 105 civilians killed in Mosul strike

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Mosul refugees on the Syrian-Iraqi border. Photo: ARA News

ARA News

An airstrike by the US-led coalition against ISIS left over 100 civilians dead in Iraq’s northwestern Mosul city, a senior official said on Thursday.

US Air Force Brigadier General Matt Isler confirmed the death of 105 Iraqi civilians in a coalition air raid in Mosul.

The strike, carried out on 17 March, targeted an ISIS stronghold. However, the blast caused ISIS weapons to explode.

The US-led coalition after investigation of the March 17 Coalition air strike in the Al Jadidah district of Mosul concludes that a secondary explosion triggered a rapid failure of the structure killing two ISIS snipers and 105 civilians.

“The secondary explosion triggered a rapid failure of the structure which killed two ISIS snipers, 101 civilians sheltered in the bottom floors of the structure and four civilians in the neighboring structure to the west,” General Isler said.

In March, the US-led coalition was accused of killing several civilians after an air strike.

“The investigation determined that ISIS emplaced a large amount of explosive material in a structure containing a significant number of civilians and then attacked Iraqi forces from the structure,” the coalition said.

“An additional 36 civilians who are believed to be connected to the structure remain unaccounted for,” General Isler said.

“Around 8 a.m. on March 17, 2017, Coalition aircraft conducted an airstrike against two ISIS snipers engaging Iraqi Counterterrorism Service soldiers at the request of the local Commander. Neither Coalition nor Iraqi forces knew that civilians were sheltered within the structure,” the coalition said in a statement on Thursday.

“The Coalition selected a single GBU-38 precision-guided munition as the most appropriate and proportionate means of engagement to neutralize the threat and to minimize collateral damage. The GBU-38’s detonation, localized to the top floor of the structure, ignited a large amount of explosive material which, unknown to the Coalition, ISIS fighters had previously placed in the house,” it added.

According to the coalition, post-blast analysis detected residues common to explosives used by ISIS, but not consistent with the explosive content of a GBU-38 munition.

“Furthermore, weapons and structural experts concluded, based on extensive modeling, the structural damage to the building was in a different location, and was in excess of what could have been caused by a single GBU-38 munition,” the coalition said.

“Our condolences go out to all those that were affected,” said Maj. Gen. Joe Martin, Commanding General CJFLCC-OIR. “The Coalition takes every feasible measure to protect civilians from harm. The best way to protect civilians is to defeat ISIS.”

The US-led coalition is backing an Iraqi ground operation to retake Mosul from ISIS militants.

Reporting by: Eyaz Ciziri & Wladimir van Wilgenburg

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