Three or four possible civilians were reported killed in an airstrike in northern Iraq, carried out by two Danish F-16s which each dropped a 500lb GBU-12 bomb. The possible error was discovered after a Danish review of cockpit video: “In some parts of the footage showing four people and a vehicle, there were acts being carried out which may be perceived as not being openly hostile.”
A joint inquiry with CENTCOM later concluded that those killed were “likely not civilian casualties” and had instead had probably been involved in planting roadside bombs.
The commander of Danish F-16s in the Middle East told Information: “It was ourselves who said, ‘I wonder if there is something here that is not as it should be?’ We wanted to get the Coalition to investigate that the intelligence basis for the operation was in order, and I am very pleased that our suspicions have been treated thoroughly and seriously, both by the Coalition and at home in Denmark.”
Denmark set a new benchmark for Coalition transparency when it publicly reported the incident just four days after the event. A statement at the time noted that “Danish forces routinely carries out an evaluation of all completed missions, with a detailed focus on specific attacks. In this context, Danish forces assessed that there is a risk that an attack may have caused civilian casualties. Danish forces have disseminated this assessment to the coalition’s air headquarters. The coalition has now launched an investigation. Danish force will review internal operating procedures in order to assess whether there is a need for change.“
No further details on the location have been given. However, citing military sources Danish state radio said that the attack took place “near Irbil.“
The local time of the incident is unknown.
Sources (10) [ collapse]
US-led Coalition Assessment:
Civilian casualty statements
Original strike reports
According to Coalition daily logs there were three potential incidents at locations near Irbil. On August 29th-30th 2015 it was reported that “Near Kisik, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL heavy machine gun.“