Several Iraqi civilians are believed to have been killed as a result of air strikes launched by the UK’s Royal Air Force on Iraq, a source with the anti-Islamic State coalition was quoted as saying Wednesday.
Speaking to BBC, the source, who has not been named to protect his identity, said it was “impossible” to conduct a bombing campaign in highly-populated areas, like Mosul, without killing civilians.
The source said he had seen evidence that British airstrikes had caused civilian casualties “on several occasions.” “To suggest they have not – as has been done – is nonsense.”
He recalled a strike on 9 January last year when an RAF Tornado fired a Brimstone missile on what was described as a “lorry bomb” in eastern Mosul, saying that he believes two civilians were “almost certainly” killed.
However, the British Ministry of Defense insisted their “very careful analysis” had concluded that those killed were “highly probably” Islamic State fighters.
It refused a request to view the strike footage it filmed from the air and will not release the co-ordinates of other RAF airstrikes. But it did eventually confirm the location of this one strike.
Many potential eyewitnesses to the strike were in hiding at the time but some say IS fighters were in the area. And there were reports of civilians being injured too. One man said the “women and men were screaming in the aftermath. Some of them were wounded.”