Nine members of a family were reported killed in an airstrike in ‘early to mid March’ including four children and three women.
Amnesty International has published the following account: “Witnesses told Amnesty International that in early-mid March (they could not be certain of the exact date), a warplane hit two houses in al-Risala neighbourhood, near al-Hamdilullah mosque. “Karim”, a local resident, described being at home at 11am on the day in question, sheltering from shelling in the back room of his house. He heard an explosion nearby that was followed around 15 minutes later by a second one.
Karim said: “I later found out that the first explosion had hit a house on a street behind mine, perhaps 100m away. It was an old house and it collapsed completely. Six people were killed, all civilians. They were a simple family. Abdel Rahman was the owner and head of the family. He worked as a grave digger. He was killed along with his wife and their four children. The children were aged four, five, six and seven.
“I didn’t go to the scene of the first explosion but I ran to the scene of the second one. This one destroyed a house on my street, less than 100m down. I didn’t see the victims’ bodies; they were buried in the rubble and we didn’t manage to dig them out. It was a rented house and the owner lived nearby. He had come to see the damage and was in the street shouting. He told us that three people had been living there and they had all been killed. They were ordinary civilians, two women and one man.
According to other witnesses, there had been an IS checkpoint on the corner of the street, around 25m from Abdel Rahman’s house. The IS position was usually manned by three fighters, who according to the witnesses, were all killed in the attack. After the first strike, IS fighters were seen running from the neighbourhood. One witness saw two IS fighters running along his street, where the second explosion happened. They had run past the house that was destroyed in the second explosion 10 minutes before it was struck. They were not killed or injured in the explosion, as they had left the area by the time it happened.
Amnesty International cannot be sure whether the delivery system for these explosions was a warplane, as some of the witnesses assumed, or another weapon system. Whatever delivery system was used, the incident illustrates the toll on civilians of using explosive weapons with wide area effects in west Mosul. Six civilians were killed in the first strike, which appears to have been aimed at an IS target that was stationary at the time of attack.
The target for the second strike is less clear, although witnesses told Amnesty International they believe it was an attempt to hit mobile IS targets as they ran through the neighbourhood. Three civilians and no IS fighters were killed in the second strike. Based on the information available, the method of attack pro-government forces employed appears to have been indiscriminate.”
The local time of the incident is unknown.
- Abdel Rahman Adult male Grave digger killed
Sources (4) [ collapse]
Attached to this civilian harm incident is the Pentagon's declassified assessment of this civilian harm allegation, obtained by Azmat Khan and the New York Times through Freedom of Information requests and lawsuits filed since March 2017, alongside the corresponding press release published by the Pentagon. Airwars is currently analysing the contents of each file, and will update our own assessments accordingly.
US-led Coalition Assessment:
Original strike reports
For March 6th-March 7th the Coalition publicly stated: “Near Mosul, five strikes engaged five ISIS tactical units; destroyed nine fighting positions, five VBIEDs, four vehicles, three roadblocks, two mortar systems, two tactical vehicles, two rocket-propelled grenade systems, a supply cache, an artillery system, a sniper position, a UAV launch site, and a VBIED factory; damaged 23 vehicles, 10 supply routes, and a tunnel; and suppressed two mortar teams.”