RESPONDING TO BACKLASH

Pentagon Releases Mosul Bombing Video To Try To Show Civilian Avoidance Attempts

Stung by accusations that indiscriminate bombing killed as many as 200 civilians in western Mosul, the Pentagon released video it says shows how it watches for and avoids civilian casualties.

The montage, edited together from hours of surveillance footage, purports to show ISIS fighters opening fire on Iraqi forces from inside a compound with civilians visible to the drone overhead inside the courtyard.

Central Command spokesman Col. John Thomas described the video as showing “clearly a woman and children, obvious from the clothes they are wearing, and some of these individuals walking around carrying larger weapons, establishing firing positions.”

Thomas said the video also shows how Iraqi forces and the coalition show restraint, after spotting the civilians.

“It shows we did not strike because we knew we where there,” Thomas said.

Not so, however, with ISIS. “The enemy continued to fight with civilians in harm’s way,” he said.

The video was taken between March 28-29th in western Mosul.

The release of the video comes as Central Command investigates the aftermath of a mid-March strike that may have killed more than 100 Iraqi civilians, which Centcom’s Gen. Joseph Votel called “tragic.”

Military commanders have said while it may have been a U.S strike that caused the carnage, it may also have been the result of munitions hitting an ISIS weapons cache or car bomb, or that ISIS fighters may have herded civilians into the target while firing from outside—the tactic Centcom has tried to illustrate with Friday’s video release.

Kimberly Dozier