In what appeared to be a separate event to the previous day’s casualties, Amnesty field investigators spoke with survivors of an April 20th strike on Al Thawra which killed two people and injured dozens more.
Amnesty’s published report reads as follows: “According to “Mustafa”, a young father displaced to al-Thawra neighbourhood from elsewhere in west Mosul, at around 8.30am on 20 April, an IS fighter entered the house where he had taken shelter in al- Thawra neighbourhood via a hole in the wall. IS had made holes in the walls of adjoining houses so they could enter and exit at will and without being seen from above. The IS fighter walked through the house and exited into the street via the main gate. An hour later, at around 9.30am, there was a strike on the house.
Mustafa told Amnesty International: “I was sitting in the back room of the house, the one furthest away from the street. I was smoking a cigarette and drinking a cup of tea with some cake. My sister came into the room and I moved over and told her to come and sit next to me. She sat down next to me and at that moment the explosion happened. I don’t know for sure that it was a strike from a plane but that’s what our neighbours told us. Perhaps they knew from the sound.”
The house was near the Palestinian school. It had two-storeys, with two downstairs rooms and one upstairs room. Due to heavy population concentration in areas under IS control, there were 104 people in the house at the time, attempting to huddle for safety in the corners of rooms. Two people were killed, including Mustafa’s 27-year-old nephew, who was pulled out of the rubble, taken to an IS-run hospital and left to bleed to death after hospital personnel told the family there were no doctors available to treat him. Almost everyone in the house was injured in some way, some severely, including a 40-year-old man who suffered spinal injuries that left him paralysed. The likely intended target of the attack had left the house one hour before the strike occurred, leaving only civilians as victims.
Another witness, “Khaled”, from al-Hermat, described the situation: “IS used our houses. If there were planes in the sky they’d come in through the front door. Otherwise they’d use the openings [the holes IS made in people’s houses to be able to come and go unnoticed by drones in the sky]. They’d enter a house, go up to the roof and shoot at the helicopters or in the direction of Iraqi forces’ positions. Then they’d leave. Fifteen minutes later the house would be hit. But we knew their [pro-government forces’] behaviour. As soon as IS left the house after shooting we’d collect our families and go as quickly as we could to another house. We’d run through the openings just like IS does and into someone else’s house.”
Based upon the information available, this attack appears to be either a direct attack on a civilian object or an attack which should have been cancelled because the intended target was no longer present. A strike in which there was such a failure to take feasible precautions could amount to an indiscriminate attack.”
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:
Civilian casualty statements
Feb 22, 2018
After a review of available information and strike video it was assessed that there is insufficient evidence to find that civilians were harmed in this strike.
Original strike reports
For April 18th-19th the Coalition publicly stated: “Near Mosul, eight strikes engaged six ISIS tactical units, destroyed 11 fighting positions, six rocket-propelled grenade systems, five anti-air artillery systems, four medium machine guns, four VBIEDs, a weapons cache, a front-end loader, an ISIS vehicle, a command and control node; and suppressed four fighting positions, four ISIS supply routes and four ISIS tactical units.”