National Iraqi News Agency & AntiWar.com & The Los Angeles Times – 2014-10-08 23:13:04
65 Iraqi Civilians — Mostly Women and Children — Killed and Wounded in the Coalition Bombing of Hit
National Iraqi News Agency
RAMADI (October 6, 2014) — A medical source in Hit announced on Monday the killing of 22 civilians, including 5 women and 4 children, and wounding 43 others, mostly women and children by bombing of the international coalition aircrafts the center of the popular market of Hit district, in addition to the bombing of an apartment building inhabited with families.
The source told the National Iraqi News Agency (NINA) that the planes of the international coalition did not focus so far in their airstrikes on gatherings of the IS,” adding that the building, which was bombed by mistake was just 70 meters far of the IS gathering.
MP for Mosul Condemns Indiscriminate Shelling by Aircraft
Calls for Accuracy in Striking Terrorists Gatherings
National Iraqi News Agency
BAGHDAD (October 7, 2014) — Member of the security and defense parliamentary committee for the National Coalition Naif Al-Shammari denounced on Tuesday the indiscriminate bombing carried out by the aircrafts, and the last one yesterday by bombing al- Owaynat village, which led to the killing of two families.
in a press statement today, Al-Shammari, MP from Mosul, said that two helicopters bombed at ten and forty-five minutes of Monday night, the village Awaynat in Rabia, which led to the killing of members of the two families, mostly women and children.
He added that the number of victims of the bombing amounted to12 martyrs, and only one survived of the two families, who was grazing the sheep.
He called on the armed forces and the leadership of the Air Force to be accurate in the bombing of gatherings of terrorists and not to be confused between them and innocent civilians.
US Airstrikes Kill 22 Civilians in Iraqi Market
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(October 7, 2014) — A Monday US airstrike against the ISIS-held town of Hit has killed at least 22 Iraqi civilians, and wounded many more, according to locals. The strikes hit a marketplace, along with apartments alongside the market.
Locals say they believe the intended target was a building containing ISIS fighters, just down the road, but the indications are that that building wasn’t hit, with locals saying it was likely a “mistake.”
Centcom’s own statement on the matter simply mentions an airstrike west of Ramadi hitting a “ISIS-held building,” but offered no details on casualties.
The Pentagon further claimed the incident of civilian deaths was “false” and that they had seen no evidence of any civilians killed, the same blanket statement they’ve made for every other airstrike in Iraq and Syria, even after they’ve been confirmed to kill civilians.
The lack of decent intelligence on what the US is actually hitting in airstrikes is likely to give way to more such incidents in the weeks, months, and years to come, as officials continue to ratchet up the air war.
Iraq News Reports Say 18 Civilians
Killed in Strike Aimed at Militants
Nabih Bulos and Patrick J. McDonnell / The Los Angeles Times
BEIRUT (October 6, 2014) — Iraqi news outlets reported Monday that at least 18 civilians, mostly women and children, were killed in an airstrike on a town under siege by fighters from the extremist group Islamic State.
The reports said that the US-led coalition conducted the attack that hit at least one building in Hit, a strategic Euphrates River Valley town in Iraq’s Anbar province.
But Maj. Curtis J. Kellogg, a spokesman for the US Central Command, said there was “no evidence” of civilian casualties in Hit.
“We have seen the media reports alleging civilian casualties in Hit, Iraq,” Maj. Kellogg said in an email responding to a Los Angeles Times inquiry. “However, based on our current assessment, we believe them to be false and have seen no evidence to corroborate these claims. I can assure you that prior to any mission, every precaution is taken to ensure we do not harm civilians or civilian facilities. However, we take all such reports seriously and look into them further.”
Hit’s general hospital received 18 bodies, including three women and eight children, all killed in an airstrike, according to Iraqi news accounts.
“It’s possible that the coalition’s air force struck the houses by mistake,” an unidentified source told Erem News, a local network.
“Coalition aircraft attempted to target houses containing ISIS elements, but the [projectiles] fell on the houses of citizens,” the report said, using a common acronym for Islamic State.
A Central Command news release Monday, which used another acronym for the militants, said that “an airstrike west of Ramadi damaged an ISIL-held building,” but did not say whether the attack was in Hit, 43 miles west of the central province’s capital.
Hit, a tribal town in the Sunni Muslim stronghold of Anbar, has been under assault since last week by Islamic State forces, which have seized vast stretches of territory in Iraq and neighboring Syria. Many residents have fled the violence.
Hit was also a bastion of anti-US militants during the US occupation that ended in 2011.
Outnumbered Iraqi government forces, which are defending the town, have run out of arms and equipment and were surrounded by Islamic State fighters, according to Iraqi news accounts.
On Monday, Sabah Karhout, who heads the Anbar provincial governing council, demanded that Baghdad provide “immediate support and assistance to Hit police [who] are currently waging a vicious battle” against Islamic State, reported Sot Al Iraq, another Iraqi news outlet.
Throughout Iraq and Syria, there have been reports that Islamic State militants have altered their tactics to blunt the effect of US-led airstrikes. The extremists have dispersed positions to present less of a target and moved from exposed bases to areas with considerable civilian populations, observers say.
US and Iraqi officials say they want to avoid civilian casualties that may breed further resentment, especially in places like Hit and elsewhere in Anbar province, where the largely Sunni population is deeply alienated from the Shiite Muslim-dominated government in Baghdad.
In addition to the US-led coalition, the Iraqi air force has also bombarded insurgent positions in Iraq, resulting in numerous civilian deaths and drawing severe criticism from human rights groups and residents in the targeted areas.
Responding to the outcry, Prime Minister Haider Abadi announced last month that the country’s armed forces had suspended aerial bombardments in areas where civilians are present.
Bulos is a special correspondent.
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