Iraqis want clarification on Dutch involvement in Mosul airstrike

Enduring Freedom
Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon over Afghanistan, May 28, 2008. (Photo: Master Sgt. Andy Dunaway/Wikimedia)Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon over Afghanistan, May 28, 2008. (Photo: Master Sgt. Andy Dunaway/Wikimedia)

Two Iraqis hit in air strikes while fleeing from Mosul on January 26th, 2015, want to know whether Dutch F-16s were involved. Lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld asked for clarification from Defense Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert in a letter sent to NRC on Thursday. 

According to the letter, the two Iraqis were injured in a taxi convoy traveling from Mosul to Baghdad, fleeing from terrorist group ISIS. The cars were bombed at least twice. Mohammed Mohammed Ahmed was injured in the first attack at the village of Umm al-Dheban. His mother and the taxi driver were killed. An hour later, a second air strike at the village of Umm Jereis hit the vehicle Ebtehal Mohammed Yosef was traveling in. She was seriously injured. Her husband and another couple in the car died. 

As far as is known, the two attacks were carried out by members of the international coalition fighting against ISIS, the lawyer writes. Which country it was is unclear. According to Zegveld, a weekly overview of Defense operations shows that Dutch F-16s were active over Iraq in that period. She wants to know if it was the Netherlands who carried out the attack. And if not, whether Defense was involved in another way. 

Not much is known about how the Dutch fighter jets are deployed in the fight against ISIS. What is known is that the Dutch Public Prosecutor did four investigations into incidents potentially involving civilian victims. 

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Defense could not give a substantive response to the letter, because the Ministry hasn't received it yet. She did say that reports of potential civilian victims are investigated by Centcom, the coalition headquarters. "In the event of possible Dutch involvement, Defense also conducts its own investigation."