Pentagon Offers Rare Admission Airstrike Killed Civilians in Iraq

Centcom Insists Killings Didn't Violate International Law

After over a year of US airstrikes against ISIS targets officials have admitted to only a handful of civilian deaths, though reports from independent sources have suggested that hundreds have been killed. Today, the Pentagon’s Central Command (Centcom) admitted to another four civilians killed, including a child, in a strike against Hatra, Iraq.

The strike attacked an ISIS checkpoint on the outskirts of town, destroying two civilian vehicles that were waiting to cross the checkpoint, and killing the passengers within. Centcom insists that the attack was perfectly legal under international law.

This attack was carried out by an A-10, basically a cargo plane full of guns with very little targeting capability. An A-10 was similarly behind the recent US attack on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan, and Centcom is once again insisting they had no way of knowing civilians were present.

If we knew there were civilians we would not have conducted a strike,” Patrick Ryder, the Centcom spokesman, insisted. He also said the fact that the vehicles waited at the checkpoint led the Pentagon to conclude they were “ISIS and therefore lawful targets.”

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of