WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. air strike that targeted an Islamic State checkpoint in Iraq in March likely killed four civilians, one of whom may have been a child, the U.S. military said on Friday in a rare statement acknowledging the death of civilians.
U.S. Air Forces Central Command began investigating the March 13 air strike by an A-10 tank-killer jet near al Hatra, Iraq, on April 20 after an Iraqi citizen reported that her car had been destroyed and its passengers killed.
"The preponderance of the evidence gathered during the investigation indicates that the air strikes likely resulted in the deaths of four non-combatants," the military said in a statement.
While reports indicated one of the people may have been a child, "no positive identification can be made with reasonable certainty as to gender or age without further forensic examination or other evidence that is not available to the coalition," the statement said.
The U.S. military has rarely acknowledged causing civilian casualties in the fight against Islamic State militants, but is investigating several dozen strikes in which civilians were reported killed. In May, it concluded two children had been killed in an air strike in Syria in November 2014.
(Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati, writing by David Alexander; Editing by Doina Chiacu)