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Opinion | The Battle of Al Shifa Hospital

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On Dec. 8, 2016, U.S. Central Command released a statement: “Coalition Strikes Mosul Hospital.” The Islamic State, it explained, “was using the hospital as a base of operations and command and control headquarters.” Accordingly, the U.S.-led coalition conducted precision strikes in support of Iraqi troops who fought for the hospital.

The story, and the scandal, wasn’t that the U.S. struck the terrorists where they hid, but that terrorists had used the hospital for cover in the first place. “In Mosul Battle, ISIS Used Hospital Base” was the Human Rights Watch headline; it explained that “armed forces or groups should not occupy medical facilities, undermining their protected status.”

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