Dutch F-16s investigated in Iraq civilian deaths

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Dutch F-16's bombing Islamic State targets in Iraq may have lead to civilian casualties. Two bombings in which civilians may have died are being investigated, the government wrote in a letter sent to parliament on Saturday, broadcaster NOS reports.

The government's letter answered parliamentary questions on the Netherlands' decision to extend the fight against the terrorist organization to also include Syria. This decision was made last week. Up until now the Netherlands' participation in the fight against ISIS was limited to Iraq.

So far the Netherlands fired a precision weapon in Iraq 1,300 times. Civilian casualties may have fallen in two of those firings. The Ministry of Defense is investigating those two cases. The Public Prosecutor was also informed. For operational reasons, no details on the investigation will be released. The Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, will be informed after the investigation is completed.

By extending the anti-ISIS fight to Syria, the Netherlands' is agreeing to a request received from the United States in December. The Americans asked that the Netherlands "intensify" the fight against the terrorist organization. Dutch F-16's will now also be deployed in the east of Syria, with the aim to weaken ISIS supply lines with precision bombings. Exact locations will remain secret.