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.