US-led coalition air strike reported to have killed Iraqi soldier in friendly fire | News | DW | 18.12.2015
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US-led coalition air strike reported to have killed Iraqi soldier in friendly fire

An air strike by the US-led coalition fighting 'Islamic State' (IS) in Iraq may have resulted in the deaths of Iraqi soldiers, the US military said in a statement. Iraq's joint operations command confirmed the incident.

Coalition forces conducted several air strikes against the self-styled "Islamic State" group (IS) in Iraq in the past days after receiving information on targets from Iraqi security forces on the ground. But despite jointly coordinating the strikes near the city of Fallujah, one Iraqi soldier was assumed to have been killed in friendly fire.

The US military said that "initial reports indicate the possibility one of the strikes resulted in the death of Iraqi soldiers."

"We will conduct a thorough investigation to determine the facts," the statement added.

"To the best of our knowledge, there have been no previous incidents of friendly fire in Iraq involving the Coalition during the course of Operation Inherent Resolve."

The beleaguered city of Fallujah

The AFP news agency reported earlier that Iraq's joint operations command had claimed that in addition to one soldier being killed nine others had been wounded during the operation, saying the incident had occurred "west of Baghdad."

The city of Fallujah is located about 65 kilometers (40 miles) west of Baghdad and has been under the control of IS and other jihadist groups for nearly two years. Tens of thousands have fled the city since the invasion in January 2014.

Iraq's joint operations command, which is in charge of overseeing Iraq's war effort against IS, added that casualties had occurred on both sides on the ground:

"Aerial support from international coalition aircraft was requested. The coalition conducted two strikes aimed at the enemy, which resulted in significant losses among the enemy," a statement from the joint operations command read.

"That allowed our forces to achieve quick progress and clash with the enemy in close combat," it said.

"A third coalition strike carried out without taking into account the distance that had been covered resulted in injuries among our forces too."

ss/jm (AFP, Reuters)

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