Air strikes kill kids
Iraqi civilians dead after two strikes involving Aussie forces
AUSTRALIAN forces have been involved in two air strikes in Iraq that killed or seriously injured at least eight civilians, including the likely death of two children.
The civilian casualties, reported overnight by the USled Operation Inherent Resolve, were the result of Australian forces fighting against ISIS troops in a battle to retake the northern city of Mosul.
The first incident took place on March 30 in West Mosul after a ground crew called in an air strike to destroy a group of people believed to be members of ISIS – also known as Daesh.
A member of the Australian Defence Force was involved in the approval of the strike against the targeted group, which the aircrew later determined had been wrongly identified.
The group of civilians, either killed or seriously injured, are thought to have included at least one child.
The second incident was an Australian air strike on June 7, in the heavily built up area of West Mosul, targeting Daesh fighters in a residential building. Australian Super Hornets were contacted when a group of Iraqi security forces were “pinned down” by Daesh fighters engaged in small-arms combat.
An Australian strike was ordered, and while no civilians were observed during the attack, the post-strike video revealed people leaving the rear of the building.
A child was being carried in a person’s arms.
Chief of Joint Operations David Johnston said a review of each incident showed that Australian forces had acted within the rules of engagement.
“The battle and the environment in Mosul is very difficult,” he said.
“It’s a dense urban environment against an enemy who have no regard for human life or the laws of armed conflict themselves.”
Vice-Admiral Johnston said Daesh were “by far the greatest perpetrator of civilian casualties in Iraq” and often used civilians as shields or hostages in the fight against allied forces.
“Daesh’s tactic of deliberately putting civilians in harm’s way is designed to complicate and impede coalition support for the Iraqi forces,” he said.
In the eight-month battle of Mosul, between 1200 and 1500 Iraqi security forces have been killed and about 8000 wounded.
CITY HIT: Airstrikes target positions on the edge of Mosul in July this year. Picture: AP