Home Latest News U.S. Army Admits Syria Airstrike Killed Civilians

U.S. Army Admits Syria Airstrike Killed Civilians

by AFP
Zakariya al-Kafi—AFP

File Photo. Zakariya al-Kafi—AFP

The August 2015 strike had targeted an Islamic State cyber-terrorist.

An American bombardment that killed an Islamic State group cyber-operative in Syria last August also killed three civilians, the U.S. Army acknowledged on Friday.

The bombing on Aug. 24 in the I.S. stronghold of Raqqa, which killed cyber-combatant Junaid Hussain, was one of four incidents alleged to have caused civilian casualties that the U.S. Central Command said it had closely analyzed.

“It was assessed three civilians in the vicinity of the strikes were killed and five more were injured,” said the Central Command, which is in charge of American forces in the Middle East and North Africa. The statement also acknowledged the death of two other civilians in a coalition airstrike on Sept. 24 near Sinjar, in northern Iraq, as well as injuries to a total of three civilians in two other attacks.

The five civilians killed would bring to 21 the number of likely civilian victims officially recognized by the coalition since it began launching airstrikes against Islamic State militants in August 2014.

“We deeply regret the unintentional loss of life and injuries resulting from those strikes,” the Centcom statement said.

The coalition generally acknowledges the civilian victims of its strikes only after lengthy investigations. It has been accused of underestimating their numbers.

Airwars, an NGO based in London, which compares and compiles publicly available information, estimates that actual civilian deaths could number in the hundreds, possibly even exceeding 1,000. According to some sources, the coalition has begun accepting a greater risk of civilian casualties when bombing attacks look likely to give the coalition a significant advantage.

Junaid Hussain, who was killed in the August attack, used Twitter and social networks to incite I.S. sympathizers around the world to launch “lone wolf” style attacks. American officials say he was notably implicated last spring in compiling and circulating a list of 100 American military figures to be killed.

The coalition has launched some 9,800 airstrikes since the start of its campaign against the I.S. jihadists.

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