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7 Feb, 2016 20:26

Netherlands launches probe into civilian deaths during Dutch airstrikes in Iraq

Netherlands launches probe into civilian deaths during Dutch airstrikes in Iraq

The Netherlands has launched a probe into two incidents in which Iraqi civilians might have been killed or injured during Dutch air strikes against Islamic State.

“Two incidents, in which there may have been possible civilian casualties, are being investigated in around 1,300 missions carried out by the Netherlands," the Dutch government said in a letter to the country’s parliament on Saturday.

"No details of the probe or the incidents in question were revealed due to “operational reasons," the letter said, according to AFP.

"The incidents are being investigated by the Defense Ministry and details will be passed to the Public Prosecutor's Office," it added.

"Because of several reasons it's impossible to determine the regrettable number civilian deaths as a result of coalition operations," the government’s letter said.

The checks were ordered after the MPs started questioning the Dutch Air Force’s role in the US-led coalition against the terror group Islamic State (IS, formerly known as ISIS/ISIL).

The parliamentarians’ interest in the issue increased after the US and France asked the Netherlands to expand its air operations into Syria in the wake of jihadist attacks in Paris on November 13, 2015.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the country’s extended air operations will now also target eastern Syria “in particular to stop the IS 'pipeline' leading from Syria into Iraq.”

READ MORE: Coalition airstrike death, injury toll rises to 25; Pentagon blames ISIS for human shields

Four Dutch F-16 jet fighters have been hitting IS targets in Iraq since October 2014 and are expected to remain on duty at least until July 1.