Tuesday, April 26, 2016

  • Tuesday, April 26, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon
From a video press conference with U.S. Air Force Major General Peter E. Gersten, deputy commander for operations and intelligence, Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve, speaking from Baghdad:

I would say, it -- we have to measure every weapon and every effect that we bring to the battle space. It doesn't change the way we operate; we've always had a very precise system that is highly vetted and highly precise as it engages the enemy anywhere it presents itself.

The enemy obviously is much easier to engage when it openly presents itself. Like, you bring up a good point. As we get into the highly congested environment of an urban operation, much like we had an urban operation in Ramadi, and we're now starting open operations in Fallujah, it's a great concern to us. But we make every effort -- now, if you would allow me, I'll give you an example.

We recently were engaging with some of the bulk cash storage facilities in order to go after counter finance. And we saw in this particular facility, which also had a finance amir in the southern section of Mosul, he was the major distributor of funds to Daesh fighters. We watched him come and go from his house, we watched his supplies, we watched the security that was involved in it.

And we also watched occasionally a female and her children in and out of the quarters.

We actually saturated that with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets, RPAs, to get a pattern of life study. And then we formulated a plan to ensure that -- that that particular, women and children and the non-combatants were clear of that objective.

We went as far as actually to put a Hellfire on top of the building and air burst it so it wouldn't destroy the building, simply knock on the roof to ensure that she and the children were out of the building. And then we proceeded with our operations.

That's an example of exactly how we do this. But we have to understand that Daesh is into the fabric of the people. They are using the civilian force as human shields, and we will fight and do everything possible we can to keep those civilian casualties to an absolute, absolute minimum.

Q: A follow-up on two points very quickly. When you described this air burst over the building, did you see, then, the women and children with her, did you observe them run out of the building? This is a technique, I think, that the Israelis have used in the past.

MAJ. GEN. GERSTEN: That's very good, Barbara. That's exactly where we took the tactic, and technique and procedure from. It is called a knock operation, it is a (inaudible) operation, and we absolutely did see the woman and child leave.

And interestingly enough, the men that were in that building, multiple men, literally trampled over her to get out of that building. And we watched her and observed her leaving the building. And she cleared the building, and we began to process the strike.

It's a difficult situation, I would tell you, in this particular event, because it was -- it ended -- it ultimately ended up in a civilian casualty.

So, as much as we tried to do exactly what we wanted to do and minimize civilian casualties, post-weapons release, she actually ran back into the building. That's a -- we watched, very difficult for us to watch. And it was within the final seconds of the actual impact.

The good news, I guess, of all of that, was that we actually brought forth the CIVCAS event for review. We reviewed it with a very thorough process, the event, looked everything we could do to have mitigated that fact. And it was an unfortunality.

But it is a very congested environment we fight in, and we do everything we possibly can.

...Q: Can you go back on a couple of things? I think David asked you was this in fact the strike listed in your press release that resulted in one civilian casualty? Can you go back over the point you knew what room the money was in and you hit that room, I take it?

And third, since you have now adopted in one instance this technique that the Israelis have used in the past, can you tell us, did you get briefed by the Israelis on how to carry this out? Did you -- did the U.S. military sit down and discuss this technique with the Israelis, how to use it, how to employ it?

MAJ. GEN. GERSTEN: Barbara, to your first question, I was cut out I believe on the money. I said I wish I could share with you the intelligence that we had to the exact location of where that -- that money was being stored. Because if you watch the strike, where the weapon entered the facility was the exact location of where that money was being stored.

Now, as to whether we are working with the Israelis on this or did they teach us this, what you're looking at is a highly skilled military force that has spent personally 25 years across the spectrum of warfare. I've watched warfare being operated across the entire region. We did not work with them. We've certainly watched and observed their procedure.

As we formulated the way to get the civilians out of the house, this was brought forward from one of our experts as a (inaudible) built the technique. We employed the technique. We put leaflets down. Knock-offs were achieved. It was actually a very highly paced, precision event in order to mitigate CIVCAS. Across the entire region, we do that.

If the Israelis were violating the laws of war, why would the US study and mimic their methods when fighting an enemy that is itself mimicking Hamas?

It must be that HRW and Amnesty, when they self-righteously declare that Israel is guilty of war crimes, don't know what they are talking about.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.


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