US Acknowledges Airstrike That Mistakenly Killed Civilian

US Acknowledges Airstrike That Mistakenly Killed Civilian

( – The United States regularly carries out airstrikes to protect its national security interests and those of its allies. However, sometimes, those targeted attacks go wrong. The Pentagon is now owning up to a mistake it made last year.

In May 2023, while seeking to eliminate an al-Qaeda leader, the US mistakenly killed a civilian, according to an investigation report by the US Central Command (CENTCOM). The incident took place on May 3, 2023, when the military “conducted a unilateral counterterrorism air strike” against a senior Al Qaeda target in Northwest Syria. However, the army drone attack apparently killed the wrong target.

Initial reports to the public stated that the US had killed an al-Qaeda leader. However, the victim’s family rebuked those claims, saying the deceased had no ties to terrorism or the terrorist group. The US military later walked back those claims.

CENTCOM Commander General Michael Erik Kurilla ordered an investigation the following month. US Army investigating officer Brigadier General John P. Cogbill conducted the investigation alongside 10 senior military officials with no involvement in the strike. The probe concluded in November, and the army just publicized the results.

The investigation found that “U.S. forces misidentified” the intended target, which resulted in the death of a civilian, Lufti Hasan Masto, 56, a shepherd, while he was tending to his animals. The intended target was able to slip away and remains at large to this day, according to The Washington Post.

While the officials noted that investigators carried out the probe within the parameters specified by the military and the Department of Defense, they also noted areas where the army could improve its performance. The report stated that US forces were “committed to learning from this incident and improving [its] targeting processes.”

Because most of the findings and facts in the case are sensitive, the report didn’t reveal them to the public.

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