US-led strikes against ISIL killed 352 civilians: Pentagon
U.S.-led strikes aimed against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have “unintentionally” killed 352 civilians since the offensive began in 2014, according to the U.S. military.
The tally from the Combined Joint Task Force did not include findings from an investigation the coalition said it had launched into one allegedly particularly deadly strike on March 17 in west Mosul.
U.S. General Stephen Townsend had said coalition forces “probably had a role in those casualties.”
The statement released on April 30 by Operation Inherent Resolve - the coalition fighting ISIL in Iraq and Syria - said 42 reports of civilian fatalities were still under review.
From November 2016 to March 9, 2017, coalition strikes killed 45 civilians, the statement said.
Three separate strikes near Mosul in early March of this year left 26 civilians dead.
The statement said the coalition had in February and March finished an audit of its civilian casualty report tracking.
The Pentagon said 80 civilian casualties caused by U.S.-led strikes in Iraq and Syria from August 2014 to date had not previously been publicly announced.
Two civilian deaths that had previously been reported were found not to be attributable to the coalition, the statement said.
Critics, including monitoring groups, say the real total number of civilian casualties is much higher than the official tally reported by the U.S. military.
The coalition insists the ISIL group has targeted civilians and used them as human shields, making it difficult to avoid civilian casualties despite its state-of-the-art technology.
Meanwhile, a U.S. service member who died when an improvised explosive device detonated while he was on patrol outside the northern Iraqi city of Mosul was identified on April 30 as 1st Lieutenant Weston Lee.
Lee, 25, of Bluffton, Georgia, was an infantry officer assigned to 1st Battalion, 325th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, the U.S. Army said in a statement.