Saturday, April 1, 2017

Belgium probes own possible involvement in Mosul strike that killed 200+

Belgium has opened a preliminary investigation to determine if its jets were responsible for civilian casualties on at least two occasions in Iraq. One probe seeks to establish whether a Belgian F-16 was involved in the March 17 strike which killed over 200 people.

In one of the deadliest single incidents of the Mosul siege, hundreds of people lost their lives in the al-Jadida neighborhood on March 17 from what the initial reports indicated to be a US-led coalition airstrike.

With the exact number of casualties still unclear, Mosul’s municipality chief, Abdul Sattar al-Habbo, who was supervising the rescue, said 240 bodies had been pulled from the rubble.

Confirming that the US is conducting its own investigation into the March 17 incident, the Pentagon earlier this week admitted that its air power could have been behind the deadly strike.

Following suit, Belgium which is part of the anti-IS (Islamic State, formerly ISIS/ISIL) coalition, also announced that it will now examine whether its jets might have been involved in targeting civilian sites on a least two occasion on March 17.

“We have opened a preliminary investigation to establish... whether all procedures were observed during two incidents,” prosecutors’ spokesman Eric Van Der Sypt told AFP on Friday. “If rules of engagement were properly observed... it is possible that no crime was committed.”

Belgian MP Wouter De Vriendt told VRT newscast that the case involved strikes carried out by Belgian F-16 fighter jets on March 17.

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