NPR reports it has sued the United States Department of Defense to force the agency to release documents that could reveal possible civilian casualties that occurred during the Oct. 2019 raid that caused the death of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
In 2019, after an order was given for a helicopter to fire on enemy combatants, the media station reported that two civilians were killed. Last year, the Pentagon declared the civilians in question as enemy combatants, preventing any aid that would otherwise go to a family whose kin had died due to a U.S. attack abroad.
But NPR maintains that the Pentagon has provided no evidence proving the men were enemy combatants. On Wednesday, NPR filed its lawsuit.
“The records regarding civilian harm sought by the Requests are essential for ensuring transparency and accountability for the actions taken by the U.S. government. The public interest at stake in the release of these documents is of the utmost importance,” the lawsuit stated.
So far, no Pentagon spokesperson has responded to the suit.
The lawsuit adds that "U.S. Central Command has a documented history of overlooking civilian deaths and injuries until challenged by the media. The records sought in this Request, which pertain to yet another air strike where CENTCOM may have undercounted civilian deaths, are of vital public importance."
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