US military killed 500 civilians last year - Pentagon
The United States (US) Department of Defence has revealed that close to 500 civilians were killed last year during US military operations in four countries.
The announcement was made in an annual report released by the Pentagon yesterday, a month after it was due, and includes casualties in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen.
The Pentagon says it has not received any “credible reports” of civilian casualties in two other countries, Libya and Somalia.
The report covers American-led counter terrorism airstrikes and ground operations around the world in 2017.
It noted that a total of 499 persons were killed and 169 injured and cautioned that “more than 450 reports of civilian casualties from 2017 remained to be assessed,” and indication the overall total could increase.
The Pentagon did not provide a breakdown of deaths and injuries for each country or details about the victims.
The Wall Street Journal reports that this is the first time the Pentagon is releasing figures for civilian casualties caused by US military ground and air operations around the world under a new requirement passed by Congress.
“We want to be as transparent as possible and show the rigorous process US forces take to protect civilians,” the newspaper quoted US military spokeswoman Major Audricia Harris as saying.