2017 Mosul airstrike

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2017 Mosul airstrike
Part of the Battle of Mosul and the Iraqi Civil War
Iraqi Army fire a heavy machine at ISIS positions in Mosul.jpg
Iraqi Army firing at ISIL positions in western Mosul, 17 March 2017
Mosul is located in Iraq
Mosul
Mosul
Location of Mosul within Iraq
TypeAirstrike
Location
Mosul, Iraq

36°20′N 43°08′E / 36.34°N 43.13°E / 36.34; 43.13
Date17 March 2017 (2017-03-17)
Executed byUnited States United States Air Force
Casualties278+[1][2] killed
Unknown injured

The 2017 Mosul airstrike, also referred to as the 2017 Mosul massacre[3][4][5][6][7] was an American bombing of the al-Aghawat al-Jadidah neighborhood in western Mosul on 17 March 2017 that killed hundreds of civilians.[8][9] The incident was the largest single death toll inflicted by a coalition air strike since the 2003 invasion of Iraq by U.S. forces.[3][10][11]

Background[edit]

Beginning on 16 October 2016, American-led forces began taking back control of the city of Mosul after it fell under occupation of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in 2014.[12] On 24 January 2017, the Eastern half of the city had been liberated from ISIL control, and the coalition forces began advancing into western Mosul soon after.[13][14]

In February, the Trump administration stated that the U.S. would sharply escalate the offensive in Mosul.[3][15] The Pentagon reported that around 1,400 separate munitions were unleashed over the last two weeks of March. The Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights corroborated an increase in the rate of drone strikes and also documented eyewitness accounts of 3,846 civilian deaths and the destruction of 10,000 homes since the offensive into western Mosul began.[3] Bassma Bassim, the head of the Mosul District Council, stated that air raids from 10 March to 17 March alone had killed "more than 500" civilians.[8]

Attack[edit]

On 18 March, the U.S. Department of Defense stated that the American-led coalition had conducted "eight strikes consisting of 73 engagements in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government" and four of these strikes targeted ISIL in Mosul. They noted the strikes "engaged three ISIS tactical units; destroyed 56 ISIS vehicles, 25 fighting positions, five rocket-propelled grenade systems, two medium machine guns, two mortar systems, and an ISIS car bomb; and suppressed 20 ISIS mortar teams and four ISIS tactical units."[16] The following day, they noted five more strikes in Mosul which "engaged four ISIS tactical units; destroyed 14 fighting positions, four vehicles, two rocket-propelled grenade systems, a medium machine gun, and an artillery system; damaged 14 supply routes; and suppressed five mortar teams and three ISIS tactical units."[17] Some residents of the al-Jadida neighborhood say the airstrike hit an explosive-filled truck, detonating a blast that collapsed buildings packed with families.[14]

Investigation[edit]

The United States Central Command confirmed that the American-led coalition conducted an airstrike targeting ISIL fighters and equipment on 17 March in the al-Jadidah neighborhood, where the civilian casualties were reported; however, they could not confirm which member of the coalition conducted the airstrike.[18]

The Iraqi military blamed ISIL for the attack despite reports suggesting that its artillery may also have hit the neighborhood, saying that 61 bodies had been recovered at the site of a booby-trapped house which it described as “completely destroyed.” The statement added that “there is no hole or indication that was subjected to an air strike.” That account strongly contradicted much field reporting and the accounts of other officials. A provincial health official, for instance, told Reuters that wide swaths of the neighborhood were destroyed in fighting, “civil defense has extracted and buried 160 bodies up to this moment.” The Iraqi Civil Defense Department reported at least 137 bodies were recovered, but by 27 March, that number had risen to 531.[19]

On 25 May 2017, the Pentagon concluded that at least 105 civilians died in the airstrike when a US aircraft delivered a single precision-guided bomb (GBU-38 JDAM) with the intention of targeting two ISIL snipers on the second story of a structure in al-Jadida neighborhood. But the bomb also caused a large cache of ISIL explosives to detonate, leading to the catastrophic collapse of the building that had civilians sheltering downstairs, officials said.[20][21][22][23]

Aftermath[edit]

The Iraqi Army temporarily stopped its advance into western Mosul following the airstrike.[24]

Reactions[edit]

Supranational and non-governmental organizations[edit]

  • Amnesty International – Amnesty International stated that recent increase in civilian casualties from U.S.-led coalition airstrikes "raised serious questions about the lawfulness of these attacks."[25]
  • United Nations United Nations – The UN expressed profound concern over the escalating civilian death toll in the battle to retake Mosul.[8]
  • Human Rights Watch – Human Rights Watch stated that "The high number of civilian deaths in recent fighting, as well as recent announcements about changed procedures for vetting airstrikes, raise concerns about the way the battle for west Mosul is being fought."[26]

Countries[edit]

  • Australia Australia – Defence Minister Marise Payne stated that, after an investigation, it was found that Australian combat aircraft were not involved in the airstrike.[27]
  • Belgium Belgium – Belgium has opened an investigation into the Mosul airstrikes to determine if its warplanes were responsible for civilian casualties.[28]
  • Iran IranAli Shamkhani, the Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, has accused the United States of committing war crimes, saying: "This war crime is similar to the behavior of Daesh [Islamic State] and other Takfiri groups in targeting civilians and innocent people and should be urgently addressed in courts of justice [in Hague]."[29]
  • Iraq IraqSpeaker of the Iraqi parliament Salim al-Jabouri, said in a statement, "What's happening in the west part of Mosul is extremely serious and could not be tolerated under any circumstances."[14]
  • Russia Russia – According to Russia's Ministry of Defense, "Absurd statements of the Pentagon representatives [that "ISIS is smuggling civilians into buildings"] justifying civil casualties caused by American bombing in Iraq give more information on the operation planning level and the alleged supremacy of the American "smart" bombs."[30]
  • Vatican City Vatican CityPope Francis stated that forces involved in the battle for Mosul have an obligation to protect noncombatants, "In expressing profound sadness for the victims of the bloody conflict, I renew my appeal that everyone commit themselves to using all efforts to protect civilians, an imperative and urgent obligation"[31]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lizzie Dearden (28 March 2017). "US-led coalition Mosul air strike killed up to 240 Iraqi civilians 'because Isis snipers used roof". The Independent.
  2. ^ Hennessy-Fiske, Molly (5 April 2017). "Nearly 300 died in Mosul airstrike, making it one of the deadliest attacks on civilians in recent memory". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 10 April 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d "Mosul massacre". en.thegreatmiddleeast.com. The Great Middle East. 27 March 2017. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  4. ^ Neuhof, Florian (26 March 2017). "Amid the Mosul Massacres, There is Also Mercy". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  5. ^ Gordan, Neve; Perugini, Nicola (2 April 2017). "The human shields of Mosul". www.aljazeera.com. Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
  6. ^ Adel, Loaa (25 March 2017). "US-led coalition starts probe into Mosul Jadida massacre". www.iraqinews.com. Iraqi News.
  7. ^ Cogan, James (March 27, 2017). "The massacre in Mosul". World Socialist Web Site. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  8. ^ a b c "Coalition says it hit Mosul site where civilians died". www.aljazeera.com. Al Jazeera English. 26 March 2017. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  9. ^ Hennigan, W.J.; Hennessy-Fiske, Molly (24 March 2017). "More than 200 civilians killed in suspected U.S. airstrike in Iraq". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 8 April 2017.
  10. ^ Gibbons-Neff, Thomas (28 March 2017). "The airstrike in Mosul was potentially one of the worst U.S.-led civilian bombings in 25 years". www.washingtonpost.com. The Washington Post. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  11. ^ Arango, Tim; Cooper, Helene (March 24, 2017). "U.S. Investigating Mosul Strikes Said to Have Killed Up to 200 Civilians". The New York Times. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  12. ^ Haddad, Tareq (16 October 2016). "'US military has started shelling Mosul' says Peshmerga commander". International Business Times. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  13. ^ "Iraqi forces secure eastern Mosul from Islamic State". USA Today. Retrieved 24 January 2017.
  14. ^ a b c Markey, Patrick (25 March 2017). "U.S. confirms coalition strike in Mosul district where dozens reported killed". Reuters. Mosul, Iraq. Retrieved 8 April 2017.
  15. ^ Ryan, Missy; Morris, Loveday (25 March 2017). "U.S. military acknowledges strike on Mosul site where more than 100 were allegedly killed". The Washington Post. Retrieved 8 April 2017.
  16. ^ "Counter-ISIS Strikes Continue in Syria, Iraq". United States Department of Defense. 18 March 2017. Retrieved 7 April 2017.
  17. ^ "Officials Provide Details of Latest Counter-ISIS Strikes in Syria, Iraq". United States Department of Defense. 19 March 2017. Retrieved 7 April 2017.
  18. ^ Smith, Saphora; Kube, Courtney (25 March 2017). "CENTCOM Investigates Whether U.S. Airstrikes Killed 200 Civilians In Mosul". NBC News. Retrieved 8 April 2017.
  19. ^ Oakford, Samuel (28 March 2017). "Coalition and Iraqi forces not adequately protecting Mosul civilians, says Amnesty". Airwars. Retrieved 8 April 2017.
  20. ^ "US air strike on IS killed 105 civilians in Iraq's Mosul". BBC News. Retrieved 26 May 2017.
  21. ^ "US probe finds more than 100 civilians killed in Mosul air strike". Yahoo News. Retrieved 26 May 2017.
  22. ^ "A DoD investigation found more than 100 civilians were killed during a U.S. airstrike in Mosul". NBC News. Retrieved 26 May 2017.
  23. ^ "Mosul air attack killed at least 105, say US commanders". Middle East Eye. 26 May 2017.
  24. ^ Chulov, Martin; Graham-Harrison, Emma (25 March 2017). "Iraq suspends Mosul offensive after coalition airstrike atrocity". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 April 2017.
  25. ^ "Iraq: Civilians killed by airstrikes in their homes after they were told not to flee Mosul". Amnesty International USA. 27 March 2017. Retrieved 8 April 2017.
  26. ^ "Iraq: Airstrike Vetting Changes Raise Concerns". Human Rights Watch. 28 March 2017.
  27. ^ Wroe, David (2017-03-27). "Australian combat planes 'not involved' in Mosul strike being probed for civilian death claims, Defence Minister Marise Payne says". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2017-04-10.
  28. ^ "Belgium probes Mosul air strikes that killed civilians". Al Jazeera. 2 April 2017.
  29. ^ "Iran urges 'war crime' hearing into US killings in Mosul". Press TV. 26 March 2017.
  30. ^ "Russia condemns Pentagon's response about Mosul civilian deaths". Yahoo News. 3 April 2017.
  31. ^ Clarke, Kevin (29 March 2017). "Pope Francis urges protection for civilians as U.S. reviews airstrike deaths in Mosul". www.americamagazine.org. America. Retrieved 30 March 2017.