SOUTHWEST ASIA – A Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve investigation of a March 17 Coalition airstrike in the Al Jadidah district of Mosul, Iraq, found that a secondary explosion triggered a rapid failure of the structure, in which two ISIS snipers, 101 civilians sheltered in the bottom floors of the structure, and four civilians in a neighboring structure were killed. An additional 36 civilians who were reported to be connected to the structure remain unaccounted for.
The investigation determined that ISIS emplaced a large amount of explosive material in a structure containing a significant number of civilians and then attacked Iraqi forces from the structure.
Around 8 a.m. on March 17, 2017, Coalition aircraft conducted an airstrike against two ISIS snipers engaging Iraqi Counterterrorism Service soldiers at the request of the local Commander. Neither Coalition nor Iraqi forces knew that civilians were sheltered within the structure. The Coalition selected a single GBU-38 precision-guided munition as the most appropriate and proportionate means of engagement to neutralize the threat and to minimize collateral damage. The GBU-38’s detonation, localized to the top floor of the structure, ignited a large amount of explosive material which, unknown to the Coalition, ISIS fighters had previously placed in the house.
Post-blast analysis detected residues common to explosives used by ISIS, but not consistent with the explosive content of a GBU-38 munition. Furthermore, weapons and structural experts concluded, based on extensive modeling, the structural damage to the building was in a different location, and was in excess of what could have been caused by a single GBU-38 munition.
“Our condolences go out to all those that were affected,” said Maj. Gen. Joe Martin, Commanding General CJFLCC-OIR. “The Coalition takes every feasible measure to protect civilians from harm. The best way to protect civilians is to defeat ISIS.”
An unclassified summary of the investigation is available at: