TAMPA, Fla., Nov. 20 (UPI) ─ The U.S. Air Forces Central Command completed its investigation into a coalition airstrike that resulted in civilian casualties.
Evidence gathered during the investigation revealed the March 13, 2015, airstrike near al Hatra, Iraq, most likely resulted in the death of four non-combatants, one of whom may have been a child. However, officials say no positive identification can be made to determine the gender or age without further examination.
“We regret the unintentional loss of lives and keep those families affected in our thoughts,” Lt. Gen. CQ Brown, U.S. Air Forces Central Command commander said in a statement. “The coalition continues to take all reasonable measures during the targeting process to reduce as much as possible risks to non-combatants.”
The target of the airstrike resulting in the death of four non-combatants was a checkpoint of the Islamic State, Sunni radical militants based in Iraq and Syria also identified as Daesh and by the acronyms ISIS and ISIL.
According to the investigation, the drivers of vehicles on location left their cars to interact with IS personnel at the time the weapon was released on the target area. The investigation concluded the intended target was hit in the strike.
“Our goal is to defeat Daesh, a terrorist organization that continuously wraps itself around the population, and we do everything we can to prevent unintended deaths or injuries to non-combatants,” Brown added.
Investigators say all reasonable measures were taken to avoid unintended deaths.