21 Iraqi Pro-Govt Fighters Killed in Apparent US Coalition Airstrike

Pentagon Announces Joint Investigation Into Attack that Killed Sunni Tribals

by Jason Ditz, October 05, 2016

An overnight airstrike destroyed a building occupied by pro-government Iraqi Sunni tribal fighters, killing at least 21 of them, near the city of Qayara, which is the staging area for the upcoming Iraqi invasion of the ISIS city of Mosul.

There is considerable uncertainty about the strike, and particularly who launched it, as Iraqi officials said they were unsure if the strike was conducted by the Iraqi Air Force or by the US-led coalition. One Canadian official did, however, confirm that the coalition was conducting airstrikes in the area “after midnight,” and the incident was around 1 am.

Officials say they believe the incident was likely a coalition strike, and the Pentagon has confirmed a “joint investigation” into the incident, though adding that they take extraordinary precautions not to kill civilians or allies.

In Iraq and Syria, the extraordinary precautions have tended to boil down to blanket denials that the incidents happened, as a way of keeping the official death toll artificially low compared to the actual toll based on publicly available evidence.

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