Pentagon Reveals Results Of Probe Into Deadly Mosul Airstrike

Henrietta Brewer
May 26, 2017

IRBIL, Iraq - A US -led airstrike carried out on a building in Mosul in March detonated a cache of Islamic State explosives, killing more than 100 Iraqi civilians, the Pentagon said Thursday.

The probe also used modeling to look at the structural damage to the building and concluded it could not have been caused by the GBU-38 precision-guided munition, or 500-pound bomb, dropped by the US aircraft.

The Mosul strike was the single deadliest incident for civilians arising from a coalition strike since anti-ISIL operations in Iraq and Syria almost three years ago.

There are another 36 civilians still unaccounted for, however U.S. Air Force Brigadier General Matt Isler says that these civilians had most likely left the area just before the deadly airstrike.

The report also advocated that the two-person team investigating civilian casualties for the USA -led coalition fighting Islamic State extremists be expanded and that teams of investigators begin visiting the sites where residents say civilians have been injured and killed by airstrikes.

"Our condolences go out to all those that were affected", Maj.

Coalition investigators' analysis of the blast site found "residues common to explosives used by ISIS, but not consistent with the explosive content of a GBU-38", the Pentagon says.

The coalition did not take the bait and no civilians were harmed, Isler said. ISIS fighters purposely baited coalition forces into striking the building while using the building as a sniper position to fire at Iraqi CTS forces, he argued.

The Iraqis did not see any civilians coming and going for the 48 hours prior to the strike, but they were only watching from one vantage point and couldn't see all entrances to the building.

CTS and coalition forces did not know civilians were in the building, Isler said, and ultimately a strike was called in.

The March 17 incident - one of the deadliest civilian casualty events since the beginning of the Iraq War in 2003 - occurred when a USA military warplane dropped a GBU-38 precision-guided missile on two ISIS snipers firing on Iraqi forces, Air Force Brig. Gen. Joseph Martin, the commander of Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command for Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq.

A bomb dropped on two Isis snipers on the roof of an apartment in Jadidah, a densely populated neighbourhood, set off explosives that militants had rigged throughout the building. Raqqa provides "the clearest evidence yet that protections for civilians on the battlefield appear to have been scaled back - with the inevitable outcome of higher deaths and injuries", he added. The investigation added that the bomb was dropped at the front of the building while structural engineers found that the damage and crater was at the back of the building.

The incident prompted global condemnations because of the large number of civilians killed.

The United States has admitted that at least 105 Iraqi civilians were killed in an air strike it carried out in Mosul in March.

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