US Admits Civilians Killed in Iraq Strike

US Admits Civilians Killed in Iraq StrikeUS Admits Civilians Killed in Iraq Strike

A US airstrike that targeted an Islamic State checkpoint in Iraq in March likely killed four civilians, one of whom may have been a child, the US military said on Friday in a rare statement acknowledging the death of civilians.

The US military has rarely acknowledged causing civilian casualties in the fight against IS militants, with Friday’s announcement bringing the total to six.

In May, it concluded two children had been killed in an airstrike in Syria in November 2014. It is investigating a few dozen other reports, Reuters reported.

An investigation of the March 13 strike found the checkpoint was a legitimate target that “all reasonable measures” were taken to avoid unintended deaths and the presence of civilians could not be detected until after the warplane had launched its weapons.

Air Force officials at US Central Command began investigating the airstrike by an A-10 tank-killer jet near Al-Hatra, Iraq, after an Iraqi woman sent an email claiming her car and a second vehicle had been destroyed and the passengers killed. She sought compensation for her vehicle.

“The preponderance of the evidence gathered during the investigation indicates that the airstrikes likely resulted in the deaths of four non-combatants,” the military said in a statement.

The person who notified the US military about the incident said two women and three children had been killed. A US military analysis indicated one of the people was much smaller than the rest and may have been a child.

But the military said in a statement it could not be certain about the age or gender of those killed without forensic examination or other evidence not available to the coalition.