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US-led strikes may have killed civilians: Pentagon

US-led strikes may have killed civilians: Pentagon
The comments on Tuesday marked the first time the US military has acknowledged that the air war may have exacted a toll on civilians.

United States Central Command, which is overseeing the air campaign, initially looked into 18 cases and concluded 13 were not credible but five merited further review. Of those, two incidents -- one in Iraq and one in Syria -- prompted formal investigations, defence officials told news agency.

The current probes involved one case that occurred as recently as December 26, officials said.

“What I know is that Central Command is investigating several (of) what they believe to be credible allegations of civilian casualties,” Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby told reporters. “This is something we always take seriously. We are very mindful of trying to mitigate the risk to civilians every time we operate, everywhere we operate.”

His comments marked a shift as the Pentagon had insisted for months they had not confirmed any instance of civilian deaths from the bombing raids.

Human rights organisations, however, have previously reported that dozens of civilians have been killed in the United States-led air strikes, mainly in Syria.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in October that 32 civilians were killed after the first month of coalition strikes in Syria, as well as 467 fighters from the Islamic State group.
Agencies

Agencies

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