Military: 16 civilians killed, 9 injured in anti-ISIS strikes

Military: 16 civilians killed, 9 injured in anti-ISIS strikes
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U.S. airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have resulted in 16 civilians killed and 9 injured.

The latest tally comes after the U.S. military command for the Middle East announced on Friday two additional civilian deaths and injuries to four more from airstrikes. U.S. Central Command (Centcom) reviewed five claimed civilian casualties it deemed credible.

Last week, the command acknowledged killing eight civilians and injured three others.

"We deeply regret the unintentional loss of life and injuries resulting from those strikes and express our deepest sympathies to the victims’ families and those affected," said Centcom spokesman Air Force Col. Pat Ryder at a briefing Friday.

Centcom reviews allegations of civilian deaths or injuries. The latest batch came within a two-week period in July, with three of the incidents in Raqqa, Syria.

"Raqqa is a major city, and so you see ISIL hiding among civilian populations, and using human shields to an effect," Ryder said, using an alternate name for the terror group.

"Unfortunately, you have an enemy here with no compassion and no concern for the human cost, and so as they continue to hide among civilian populations and put civilians at risk, it puts us in a situation going forward [where] we can't guarantee that civilian casualties won't occur. But that doesn't mean we're going to stop trying to minimize them and prevent them," he said.  

In an airstrike on July 4 near Raqqa, Centcom concluded one civilian in a truck with a trailer was likely killed.

A second strike on July 7 near Raqqa saw a civilian injured by a secondary explosion and flying debris. 

In a third strike on July 8 near Sarmada, Syria, two civilians on a motorcycle were likely injured. That strike was targeting a vehicle carrying Khorasan group leader Muhsin al-Fadhli.

In a fourth strike on July 11 near Raqqa, a review showed a secondary explosion from a vehicle near an intended target. That explosion likely killed one civilian, Centcom said.  

In a fifth strike on July 17 near Mosul, Iraq targeting ISIS fighters traveling in a vehicle. Centcom assessed one civilian was injured.

Ryder said, so far, there have been 120 allegations of civilian casualties, and 87 have been deemed not credible. 

Of the 33 deemed credible, the U.S. has closed 19 and announced the results in 13 cases, concluding that 16 were civilians killed and nine injured. Two are non-U.S. cases.

In the remaining 14 cases, nine are undergoing credibility assessments and five are pending investigation.