Former Defense Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert says that in 2015 she verbally informed then Minister Bert Koenders of Foreign Affairs about possible civilian deaths during a bombardment by Dutch F-16s in Iraq, and she may also have told Prime Minister Mark Rutte. She did not mention how many victims there were, only that there may have been civilian casualties, Minister Ank Bijleveld of Defense said in a letter to parliament on Monday night, NOS reports.
Minister Ank Bijleveld of Defense barely survived a motion of no confidence on Tuesday during a parliamentary debate on Dutch F-16 involvement in civilian casualties during two airstrikes in Hawija and Mosul in Iraq in 2015. A total of 74 people died in those airstrikes.
The Dutch F-16 pilot who in 2015 dropped a bomb on a Mosul home, that turned out to be a family home instead of ISIS headquarters as military information indicated, felt physically sick when he found out that he had killed four members of a family, instead of members of the terrorist organization, he said to the Telegraaf.
An airstrike by a Dutch F-16 on a car bomb factory in Iraq in 2015 left at least 70 civilians dead, NOS and NRC report based on their own research. This is the first study showing how many civilians were killed in Dutch bombings in the fight against terrorist organization Islamic State.
The bombing happened during the early hours of 3 June 2015. It completely destroyed a neighborhood in the Iraqi city of Hawija. It is considered one of the bloodiest attacks by the international coalition against ISIS, aimed at a military target.
No Dutch soldiers will be prosecuted for bombings by the anti-ISIS coalition in Iraq and East Syria in which civilians were killed, the Public Prosecutor decided. The Dutch soldiers did not break the law of war, the the Ministers of Defense and Foreign Affairs wrote in a letter to parliament, RTL Nieuws reports.
The Public Prosecutor investigated four incidents. In none of these incidents did the Dutch soldiers break the law of war, the Ministers wrote.
On Tuesday King Willem-Alexander opened the Netherlands' parliamentary year with his traditional Budget Day speech. He talked about the devastation Hurricane Irma left of the Caribbean islands that form part of the Dutch Kingdom, terrorism around the world, the prosecution of those responsible for the MH17 disaster, and making sure that everyone in the Netherlands benefits from the improving economy, among other things.
In January the Netherlands will again deploy F-16 fighter jets to fight in the coalition against terrorist organization ISIS in Syria and Iraq, sources confirmed to the Telegraaf. A total of six jets will be sent, four for fighting and two as reserve, and they will be stationed at the Al-Azraq airbase in Jordan, according to the newspaper.
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.
NATO is joining the coalition fighting against terrorist organization ISIS in Syria and Iraq, the 28 NATO member states decided on Wednesday. The Netherlands will contribute two planes to the fight against Islamic State this year, Ministers Bert Koenders of Foreign Affairs and Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert announced.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte paid an unannounced visit to Dutch soldiers in Baghdad on Tuesday. He visited several training sites, where Dutch soldiers are training Iraqi special forces as part of the Dutch contribution to the international coalition against terrorist organization Islamic State
The Netherlands' F-16 stationed in Jordan participated in seven missions over Syria in the past three months. The Dutch fighter jets dropped bombs on ISIS targets four times during those missions, Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert wrote in response to questions from Parliament
King Willem-Alexander paid a surprise visit to the 200 Dutch troops in Jordan on Thursday, the government information service announced.
The number of names on the Netherlands' national terrorism list doubled over the past year. There are now 39 individuals and three organizations on the list, Minister Bert Koenders of Foreign Affairs announced on Sunday, on the eve of of a large international conference on terrorism in The Hague.
The terrorist threat level in the Netherlands is "at the top of the range" of substantial threat, and nearing critical level, according to Minister Ard van der Steur of Security and Justice. This is because of "what happened with the Thalys and some other things". Belgium has placed extra security at the Dutch embassy in Brussels, as well as at the embassies of other countries part of the coalition fighting against terrorist organization Islamic State.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bert Koenders is participating in a meeting of the anti-ISIS coalition in London on Thursday, according to Rijksoverheid. The Netherlands is a member of the coalition's core group comprised of twenty countries, the European Union and the United Nations.