Crime

ISIS Fighter Offered To Kill Wounded Little Girl

| by Michael Doherty

Four-year-old Hawra may never see again after being struck with shrapnel from a March 17 airstrike in Mosul, Iraq.

The girl's mother was killed in the strike, along with at least 141 others -- although estimates indicate that the total number of casualties may be much higher, CNN reports.

"There are still bodies under the rubble," said Iraqi Civil Forces Head Col. Mohammad Shumari.

"It was a mass killing," said Hawra's grandmother, Aliya.

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There were reportedly multiple U.S. coalition-led airstrikes in Mosul on March 17, and the U.S. and Iraqi governments have begun to investigate allegations of civilian casualties both in Iraq and Syria.

Hawra's father, Ala'a Al-Tai, recounted the terrifying day when his daughter was injured, suffering a broken leg and shrapnel to her face and back that left her eyes seriously injured.

Ala'a said there had been a row of houses where ISIS fighters met, which were connected by narrow "rat line" tunnels that allowed members of the terrorist group to move without being seen.

On the day of the airstrikes, Ala'a said several families had sought shelter via the rat lines in one of the homes on the street.

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Ala'a said about a dozen ISIS fighters were at the intersection. He recalled hearing shooting outside, and then the airstrikes began.

"There was dust everywhere," said Ala'a. "My mother started to scream ... Rocks and debris were falling down on the house we were in. She said go see what happened."

When he went outside, he saw that three of the homes of the street had collapsed, including the one with his family inside it. He said the only thing he could hear was his daughter crying from beneath the rubble.

"I could just hear her voice," said Ala'a. "There was a block that had fallen on her. There was also a metal frame -- that's what lodged the shrapnel in her face and her eyes. I screamed for her mother, my aunt and uncle, but no response."

Ala'a says he then begged an ISIS fighter to allow him to leave with his daughter so she could get medical treatment, offering to go deeper into ISIS territory to find help.

"[An Iraqi ISIS member] said 'I could just shoot her,'" said Ala'a. "He said, 'Why do you want to save her? She's going to die anyway.'"

Another ISIS member told him the family could not leave because the group was planning to use the rest of the civilians as human shields.

"I am thinking it's better to be dead. I am thinking to die, rather than a life like this. [Hawra] was like a little flower. She would play and run. Now, she how has no mother, no eyes," said Aliya.

"I saw my wife the next day, I saw her leg and her intestines so I covered her in a blanket and left," Ala'a said.

It took three days for Iraqi security forces to fight back ISIS and reclaim the neighborhood, at which point Ala'a was able to get medical assistance for his daughter.

The U.S. is reportedly investigating whether it was responsible for the deaths in March.

"The coalition conducted several strikes near Mosul and we will provide this information to our civilian casualty team for further investigation," said Eric Pahon, a spokesman for the Pentagon.

"We do not currently assess there were any civilian casualties," said Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis after an airstrike in northern Syria on March 16. "As always, you know we take extraordinary measures to mitigate the loss of civilian life in our operations."

Sources: CNN (2) / Photo credit: CNN

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