A U.S.-led coalition air strike on an Islamic State weapons factory near the militants' Raqqa stronghold may have killed civilians, the Pentagon said on August 24.
"Reports indicate that what appeared to be a non-military vehicle drove into the target area after the weapon was released from the aircraft," the U.S. Central Command said. "The vehicle's occupants may have perished as a result of the strike."
CENTCOM did not provide further details but said it will continue investigating the August 23 strike.
It is not uncommon for civilians to move into the blast radius of a bomb after it has been released by a drone or a plane pilot. It can take as long as 45 seconds for the missile to hone in on a target.
Drone operators are sometimes able to change a missile's trajectory in the last seconds before impact, sending the weapon crashing into a field or deserted area.
In total, the U.S. military has acknowledged killing 55 civilians since launching a coalition air war against IS two years ago. Critics say that is a dramatic underestimation.