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Civilian Death Toll in U.S. Strikes Raises Questions

Image: Civilian Death Toll in U.S. Strikes Raises Questions
Smoke rises from the Syrian city of Kobani, following an airstrike by the US led coalition on Nov. 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda, File)

By    |   Tuesday, 05 Jul 2016 02:34 PM

The Obama administration faces tough questions over a report on non-combatants killed in U.S. strikes, which some monitoring groups claim under-report the number of civilian deaths.

The White House revealed Friday that between 64 and 116 civilians have been killed by U.S. strikes since 2009, according to CBS News

Friday's report, which includes data from strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, and Somalia, came from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. In the 473 strikes examined, 2,372 to 2,581 combatants and 64 to 116 non-combatants died. These strikes took place outside "areas of active hostilities," meaning deaths in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria were not included in the report.

Averaging figures from multiple non-government sources, the Chicago Tribune said the Obama administration carried out 528 strikes, killing an estimated 474 civilians out of 4,189 total deaths.

"They're guessing, too," Bill Roggio, Long War Journal editor and tracker of civilian deaths in conflict zones for over a decade, told The New York Times. "Theirs may be a little more educated than my guesses. But they cannot be completely accurate."

"We're going to be asking really hard questions about these numbers. They're incredibly low for the number of people killed who are civilians," Amnesty International's Naureen Shah to said on CBS News.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism in London notes that in 2011 at least 35 civilians were killed in a CIA drone attack in Pakistan, and 41 civilians, including 22 children, died in 2009 from a Pentagon-ordered cruise missile strike in Yemen, 12 more than the official minimum.

"There's no doubt that civilians were killed that shouldn't have been," Obama said earlier this year. The president issued an executive order on Friday making civilian protection a top-priority for the U.S. military during operations planning.

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The Obama administration faces tough questions over a report on non-combatants killed in U.S. strikes, which some monitoring groups claim under-report the number of civilian deaths.
us airstrike, civilian, deaths, report
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2016-34-05
Tuesday, 05 Jul 2016 02:34 PM
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