THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The Netherlands’ defense minister announced Tuesday that the government is paying an undisclosed sum to an Iraqi man who lost four family members and his home in Mosul when they were hit by a Dutch airstrike in 2015 after the building was wrongly identified as an Islamic State target.
Ank Bijleveld-Schouten said in a letter to lawmakers that the payment is intended to compensate Bassim Razzo for “the enormous human suffering that has befallen him and the material damage he has suffered as a result of this weapon use.”
Liesbeth Zegveld, the Dutch lawyer representing Razzo, said his wife and daughter, his brother and cousin were all killed in the airstrike on Sept. 21, 2015, when his house was bombed by Dutch F-16 jets involved in Coalition operations against Islamic State. The house was identified as a target based on faulty intelligence.
Razzo, who now lives in the Iraqi city of Erbil, was driving when he heard the news. “He had to stop. He had tears in his eyes,” Zegveld said.
Bijleveld-Schouten said in her letter to Parliament that the voluntary payment to Razzo didn’t mean the Dutch state is acknowledging liability and that the Defense Ministry believes that the airstrike didn’t amount to a wrongful use of force.
In a response to a lawmaker’s questions in December, Bijleveld-Schouten said that “before and during the mission there were no indications that the intelligence that led to the identification was incorrect.”