March 17 Air Strike in Mosul Was Bait by Islamists
On March 17, a U.S. led air strike targeted a building from which two ISIS snipers were attacking ground forces. When the aircraft took out the target, the explosion was much larger than expected, and collapsed the building. ISIS had booby-trapped it. There were 101 civilians in the basement of the building.
Iraqi recon units stated they did not see any civilians go in or out of the building 3 days prior to calling in the air strike, which means it was a calculated plan to kill them in the first place.
The ISIS fighters packed approximately 1,000 pounds of explosives into the building, the placed their snipers on the roof. When the Iraqis called in for an air strike against the snipers at around 8 a.m. on March 17, they had no way of knowing about the civilians sheltering in the basement. There are still 36 people missing after the incident.
According to Stripes,
If you tried to take that GBU-38 and put it right there, it wouldn’t even dent … any of those surrounding walls,” said [Air Force Brig. Gen. Matthew] Isler, who described the building as a thick structure with 30-inch, reinforced cement walls. “They would be intact. They would have a little bit of facial damage on it, but that’s the most you can get.”
Isler also said bad weather on that day and the days leading up to the attack had reduced their ability to obtain overhead surveillance of the target.
[The GBU-38 is a 500 pound bomb fitted with a JDAM or “Joint Direct Attack Munition” which converts it from a free fall bomb into a precision guided one].
The owner of the building had previously invited local families to shelter inside the building because it was the strongest building in the neighborhood. But what originally was a voluntary sheltering turning into something quite different when ISIS came to the house and told everyone they were not allowed to leave or they’d be “considered an enemy.”
Over the years that the US and its coalition partners have been fighting ISIS, one thing has been abundantly clear: the militant jihadists do not care about anyone. They have used women and children as human shields. They have deliberately used churches, hospitals, and schools as places to hide weapons, ammunition, and fighters.