The Canadian military is facing accusations that a recent airstrike by CF-18 pilots in northern Iraq ended up killing at least five civilians and injuring more than one dozen.
Canadian warplanes are still bombing ISIL targets despite Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s campaign pledge to end these airstrikes in Iraq and Syria.
The airstrike, on Nov. 19, one month after the Liberals were elected, was intended to destroy what the Canadian military said was an ISIL bomb-making factory in Mosul, The Globe and Mail reported on Monday.
But local Iraq media reports, which included video and photographic evidence of collateral damage, say the attack on the bomb plant also damaged a dairy factory next door, killing between five and 13 people and injuring more than a dozen.
Airwars.org, a project to track the international airstrikes against Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant militants, has collected local media reports on the alleged civilian deaths from outlets such as Nineveh Reporters Network, Mosul News and Nineveh News.
According to the local Nineveh Reporters Network, the attack “killed all elements of the organization [ISIL] who were inside the booby-trapping plant, but also damaged a large dairy building next door, killing approximately five civilian workers and injuring 13 others.”
CF-18s have launched at least 16 strikes since the Oct. 19 election and 193 in the region since last fall.
Mr. Trudeau has not set a firm date for withdrawing Canada’s fighters. He has said only that they would be recalled by March 31, 2016.
This is not the first allegation that Canadian military’s airstrikes have killed civilians.
In January this year, an English-speaking Kurdish Peshmerga fighter told the US military that as many as 27 civilians died during aerial bombardment by a Canadian pilots.
The Canadian military kept this under wraps for seven months before disclosing the allegation in August. It has not investigated the incident because it says there was insufficient evidence.