According to the Washington post newspaper, The U.S. military has reopened its investigation into a 2015 airstrike near the Iraqi city of Mosul that killed at least 11 civilians, including nine women and children, U.S. military officials said.
The move by U.S. Central Command follows an article in The Washington Post that identified flaws in the initial probe of the attack, which concluded that only four civilians were killed.
The newspaper added that the Post’s story also raised broader questions about the military’s efforts to investigate battlefield mistakes. In nearly two years of bombing and more than 12,000 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, the U.S. military has acknowledged only 41 civilian deaths. Military analysts and human rights activists said those figures vastly understate the civilian casualties caused by U.S. airstrikes.
“There’s not a chance that number is right. Just equipment failures alone would have killed 41 civilians, not even accounting for far more common human mistakes or bad intelligence,” said Jason Lyall, an associate professor of political science at Yale University who studies the effects of air power and served as a technical adviser to the U.S. government in Afghanistan. “The lack of curiosity here is entirely alarming.”
If confirmed by military investigators, the 11 civilian deaths in the attack on ISIL checkpoint in the village of Hatra would account for more than 25 percent of all civilian casualties acknowledged so far by the U.S. military in Iraq and Syria.
An initial review of the strike by the Air Force found the allegations in The Post’s story “credible,” and Air Force officials, based in Qatar, have “since opened an investigation,” said Col. Patrick Ryder, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command.