Mosul residents deny findings of U.S. probe into Iraq strike
- Author: Joanne Flowers May 26, 2017,
May 26, 2017, 14:40
Gen. Matthew C. Isler.
Although the investigation acknowledges the civilian deaths caused, it appears to assign blame to Islamic State, with the probe noting that the episode began when two IS snipers began firing at troops from Iraq's Counterterrorism Service.
US forces take every precaution to avoid civilian casualties, according to officials in Baghdad.
A report revealed how the 500-pound bomb, which was dropped on a building, set off explosive materials that had already been put in place by IS fighters.
It said that analysis concluded that the amount of explosives in the United States bomb, about 90kg, was not enough to bring down the building.
The two-month long Pentagon investigation found that 105 civilians had been killed in the strike - 101 inside the targeted two-story building that had a partial basement, and four in an adjacent structure. "CTS visual observers had been in direct visual observation of the area for over two days, and had not observed civilians enter or use the structure", Isler said.
The investigation found that neither USA or Iraqi forces were aware that civilians were in the building. "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".
To counter such a threat as "two snipers", the coalition should have used infantry instead of an aerial bomb, Steele added.
As of the most recent Centcom official count at the end of April, a total of 396 civilians had been killed since the beginning of the bombing campaign against Daesh in Iraq and Syria almost three years ago.
The US-led coalition said a local commander ordered the air strike, which was then carried using a single precision-guided bomb.
The Pentagon's summary was prepared by the investigating officer, Air Force Brig.
"The civilians had gathered in the lower floors of the building after being expelled from their homes by IS fighters", the BBC says. He added that the rules of engagement had not been altered.
According to reports at the time, civilians - mostly women and children - who were being used as "human shields" by ISIS were killed in the blast. A full rescue effort was not launched until four days after the attack, because Iraqi ground forces said the area was too unsafe to send in search and rescue teams. Gen. Joe Martin, commanding general of the ground force fighting ISIS, said in a statement.
The coalition did not take the bait and no civilians were harmed, Isler said.
WELNA: One lesson, according to another USA commander, has been that in the 10 percent of Mosul that's still under ISIS control every house there is now assumed to hold civilians.
Following the investigation's release, Amnesty International said there was "an urgent need to protect civilians".
Describing a lengthy engineering and scientific analysis, Isler said the bomb dropped by the US aircraft struck the roof and detonated, with "localized damage" to the front and second floor areas of the building.
"We are in no position at this stage to confirm or deny the results of the USA investigation".