Human Rights Watch (HRW) urges investigation into Kirkuk airstrike

October 24, 2016 1:30 pm

Oil workers and firemen try to extinguish flames at the Khabbaz oil field, some 20 kilometers southwest of , on June 1, 2016, following a reported improvised explosive attack by the Daesh terrorist group at the site. (Photo by AFP)

Watch (HRW) has called for an investigation into a recent airstrike that targeted a Shia congregation in ’s province of Kirkuk, which claimed the lives of over a dozen civilians.
On October 21, 2016, at least 15 women lost their lives and scores of other civilians sustained injuries in an attack on a mourning procession in the town of Daquq in Kirkuk.
“Even in the heat of battle, armed forces should take all feasible precautions to avoid harming civilians,” Lama Fakih, HRW’s deputy director, said Monday.
“Iraqi forces should investigate whether this was a possible unlawful airstrike that killed civilians and report their findings. If this turns out to be their fault, they should take appropriate measures to compensate the victims,” she added.
“All forces carrying out ground and air attacks should be extremely vigilant about taking all measures to minimize civilian casualties,” said Fakih. “Any mistakes, as we have seen, could be deadly.”
HRW quoted residents as saying that the attack was an airstrike, noting that there were no apparent military targets in the vicinity.
Reports said fighter jets operated by the US-led coalition purportedly fighting Daesh in Iraq had conducted the attack in Daquq.

Iraqi forces fire artillery shells towards the nearby village of Zalhafa from their position on the outskirts of the village of al-Khuwayn, south of Mosul, after recapturing it from the Daesh Takfiri terrorists on October 23, 2016, in part of an ongoing operation to tighten the noose around Mosul and reclaim the last major Iraqi city under Daesh control. (Photo by AFP)

A spokesperson for the coalition, however, has denied the reports in an email to HRW.
Iraqi forces have launched a military operation to retake the city of Mosul from Daesh terrorists on October 17.
They are also involved in ending an attack by Daesh sleeper cells in Kirkuk.
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