US: Airstrike on Daesh checkpoint killed four civilians
Authorities are currently investigating 26 cases of possible civilian casualties. Image used for illustrative purposes. (Al Bawaba/File)
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An Air Force investigation concluded Friday that was prompted by allegations that an anti-Daesh coalition airstrike in Iraq caused civilian deaths.
"The preponderance of the evidence gathered during the investigation indicates that the airstrikes likely resulted in the deaths of four non-combatants," U.S. Central Command said in a statement. "According to the report, one of the non-combatants may have been a child."
Investigators were unable to determine the age or gender of the child even after a forensic examination.
Central Command spokesman Col. Pat Ryder said that the area of the March 13 airstrike was validated as a Daesh checkpoint but just prior to the operation two vehicles approached the checkpoint and parked in the targeted area.
"Aircrews relayed this new information to the Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) staff," the Air Force statement added. "Based on the actions being observed, aircrew and CAOC personnel assessed that the checkpoint, additional vehicles, and additional personnel were lawful targets consistent with the Law of Armed Conflict."
The investigation into the strike near the town of al Hatra in Nineveh, began April 20 and findings were approved June 28, according to Ryder.
The investigation concluded that the strikes were carried out consistently with required military authorizations.
There are 26 ongoing investigations into civilian casualties, according to Ryder.
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