Australian Defense officials said two RAAF fighter planes were involved in a bombing mission in Iraq that led to the deaths of 18 Iraqi civilians.
The incident occurred in June 2017, at the height of a bloody battle by the Iraqi and coalition forces to re-occupy the northern city of Mosul.
Iraqi security forces came across seven Islamic state fighters and rushed to call for a coalition of the Coalition.
Two F / A-18F Super Hornets were among the youths deployed in the area, both falling GPS-guided missiles to the target.
But Australian officials have now confirmed that there were innocent civilians near the blast.
"The coalition estimates that between six and 18 civilians can be killed, and this is based on an estimate of the population density," Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld, the chief joint operations, reveals.
"It is not possible to determine whether civilian casualties occurred as a result of the Australian air strike, the nearby coalition plane or other actors."
Air Marshal Hupfeld said the Australian forces will never participate in such strikes unless the minimum risks are satisfied, based on advice from Iraqi forces.
"We know from our review of the events that our air force did not make a mistake in this mission," said Er Marshal Hopfeld.
The first major victim reports were posted on the Airwars website, which tracks civilian casualties as a result of air strikes in the Middle East and North Africa.
The site initially suggested that up to 50 people be killed.
Some local reports suggested that innocent victims could be families.
A six-month delay between the incident and Australian officials has been informed
Australian officials were informed in January 2018, followed by an investigation of 12 months. Investigators did not travel on the side of the air raid as part of their investigations due to delay in becoming aware of the reports.
Air Marshal Hupfeld acknowledged that if it was clear that the civilians were near, air strikes would never be allowed.
But he is not ready to blame the Iraqi security forces for the situation, arguing that they were under extreme pressure from IP fighters at the time of the attack.
"The assessment was that … the likelihood of civilian casualties or civilian casualties there was low, but there is always a probability," he said.
"The action in Mosul was the hottest air campaign we've seen in our generation.
"It's an unfortunate consequence of the war that these civilian casualties have taken place."
The Australian bombing mission in the region ended in late 2017.
There were more than 30,000 coalition air strikes in the region, and Australian Defense Forces said they would investigate in detail all alleged civilian victims in missions involving RAAF aircraft.
Air Marshal Hupfeld said all claims for compensation would be resolved by the central command of the Coalition, not directly by ADF.
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