Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

CI543

Incident date

March 14, 2017

Location

المحطة, Mosul, Al Mahatta, Nineveh, Iraq

Geolocation

36.336843, 43.117979 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

Local residents told journalists of the French newspaper Mediapart that 26 people were killed after an airstrike reportedly carried out by an “American-built F-16” targeted an ISIL combatant who was sitting on the roof of their house. A young girl was also severely injured.

The report by Mediapart.fr [in translation] reads: “In the neighbourhood of Mahatta, close to the station, 26 civilians paid the price with their lives, killed by an airstrike on Tuesday 14th, around 4pm in the afternoon.

Amad, Mahmoud, Youssef, Marwan, Abdullah Fatah, his wife, his mother are the five direct witnesses interviewed by Mediapart, refugees in some houses south of the city.

It was the men of the 2nd Division of the Special Iraqi Forces who asked for this strike which then killed 26 civilians in a house in Mahatta.

Stunned, Khalef Khudair, 50 years, spreads out the identity cards of the 18 members of his family killed by the attack on the floor of a house where he took refuge. “It was Tuesday 14 March, between 4pm and 4.15pm, he explains. A man from ISIL was posted on our roof. I was in a room with two other people. Two enormous missiles fell on the house. The room next to it, where all the others were, was completely destroyed.” After he blacked out, until people took him out of the rubble.

A neighbour, Ahmed Abu Ahmed, 41, says he saw everything: “The ISIL fighter had installed a heavy PKC machine-gun on one of the roofs. The Special Iraqi Forces first tried to come to him, but he succeeded in repelling them. Then two missiles fell, one right after the other.” As a former policeman, Ahmed Abu Ahmed is convinced that it is an F-16 aircraft – an American-built bomber, which carried out the strike. He rushed to search in the rubble until nightfall.

At first count, there were nineteen bodies. But the next day, neighbors hear a voice that came from under the ruins: “Mamma! Dad !” Ahmed Abu Ahmed searched again and found a little girl, legs broken, wounded in the head, and carried her to an ambulance. The excavations continued and seven more bodies are identified, putting the toll at twenty-six dead. The relatives of the victims claim only one thing: to be allowed to bury the corpses, which they had to leave behind, when the Iraqi forces evacuated them from the area.

In its July 2017 casualty report the Coalition appeared to rule itself out of the incident, noting that “March 14, 2017, near Mosul, Iraq, via social media report: No Coalition strikes were conducted on that day in the geographic area of the reported civilian casualties. The closest strike to the report of possible civilian casualties was approximately a kilometer away.”

Coordinates supplied to Airwars by the Coalition (36.339149, 43.109260) placed the assessment at the al Roubah area of Mosul, around 800m from the station indicating that this was the most likely claim being assessed.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    26
  • (2 children2 women)
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attacker
    US-led Coalition

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

  • Khalef Khudair, 50, shows the IDs of relatives killed in an airstrike in Mahatta, on the 14 of March 2017 © Jérémy André
  • The little girl brought to the ambulance on the 15 of March, allegedly taken out of the rubbles of her house, in Mahatta, hit by an airstrike on the 14 of March © Jérémy André
  • Another picture of the little girl © Jérémy André

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Non credible / Unsubstantiated
    Insufficient information to assess that, more likely than not, a Coalition strike resulted in civilian casualties.
  • Reason for non-credible assessment
    No Coalition strikes were conducted in the geographical area
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None
  • Stated location
    near Mosul, Iraq
    Nearest population center
  • Location accuracy
    1 m
  • MGRS coordinate
    38SLF3031523225
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Jun 2, 2017
  • No Coalition strikes were conducted on that day in the geographic area of the reported civilian casualties. The closest strike to the report of possible civilian casualties was approximately a kilometer away.

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

For March 13th-14th: “Near Mosul, five strikes engaged four ISIS tactical units; destroyed 27 fighting positions, three rocket-propelled grenade systems, two VBIEDs, an artillery system, a mortar system, a heavy machine gun, a road block, a vehicle and a VBIED factory; damaged 12 supply routes; and suppressed five ISIS mortar teams and two ISIS tactical units.”

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    26
  • (2 children2 women)
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attacker
    US-led Coalition

Sources (5) [ collapse]