At least four civilians were reported killed following a rocket attack by either the ISF or the Coalition on a mosque at Wadi Hajjar, according to an eyewitness.
Amnesty International published the following account: “An attack struck Khaled Ibn al-Waleed mosque, in Wadi Hajjar, at close to 3pm on or around 20 February (witnesses could not be sure of the exact date). The mosque is in the middle of a residential neighbourhood near Sawas Roundabout. “Hadi”, a witness from the area, told Amnesty International that 60-70 people were praying inside the mosque. The mosque was hit by up to five rockets, causing the roof to collapse and destroying two nearby houses. A second round of strikes were carried out a few minutes after the first. Hadi attributed the damage to an air strike, having heard aircraft in the sky.
Hadi said: “I was 500m away from the mosque, and I heard the planes come and the sounds of the rockets. I went directly to the site, and I started dragging people out of the rubble. I pulled out at least 30 people, and we sent them to al-Jamhouri hospital. We had some ambulances, but mostly we were using small trucks. Everyone was shouting, and crying. I heard two of them under the rubble, moaning, and I found them. Then I found three more who were dead. Then I found one who was almost dead. I saw one, who was dead, stuck in the rubble up to his waist. Dozens were injured. I don’t know how many died, but I saw at least four dead with my own eyes.”
According to Hadi, at the time of the strike a car belonging to the Hesba police (religious police) of IS was parked outside the mosque. The car was painted in the distinctive black and white colours of IS and easily recognizable. He said that some IS fighters – no more than one or two of them – were praying inside. The strike appears to have been an attempt to target the IS vehicle and the fighters inside the mosque. Although Amnesty International cannot be sure how many IS fighters were impacted by the attack, the high civilian death toll and the nature of the objects that were struck raises the likelihood that it was a disproportionate attack.”
The local time of the incident is unknown.
Sources (1) [ collapse]
US-led Coalition Assessment:
Original strike reports
For February 19th-20th the Coalition publicly noted: “Near Mosul, six strikes engaged four ISIS tactical units and two ISIS staging areas; destroyed five mortar systems, four vehicles, three supply caches, three artillery systems, two command and control nodes, an ISIS headquarters, an IED facility, a heavy machine gun, a logistics node and a fighting position; damaged 15 supply routes; and suppressed nine mortar teams and an artillery team.”