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Pentagon calls Iraq attack 'mistake by both sides'

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Pentagon calls Iraq attack ‘mistake by both sides’


US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter (AFP photo)

US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter claims that the death of a number of Iraqi troops in a US airstrike against purported Daesh (ISIL) positions appeared to be a mistake involving both American and Iraqi forces.

The airstrike was “a mistake that involved both sides,” Carter said while speaking to reporters during a visit Saturday to the US amphibious assault ship, USS Kearsarge, in the Persian Gulf.

Carter also called Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and expressed his condolences.

Iraqi Defense Ministry has confirmed that an airstrike by the so-called US-led coalition against Daesh on Friday hit a convoy of Iraqi soldiers, killing or injuring ten forces near Fallujah.

Soldiers involved in the combat, however, said the death toll was higher. One officer injured in the strike, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said 25 soldiers were killed and 37 wounded.

An army medic, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said he had treated at least 20 wounded troops. “I treated at least 20 injured, and my colleagues treated more.”

The US military said the incident occurred “despite co-ordination with Iraqi security forces on the ground.”

Iraq’s joint operations command, however, said in a statement that “a third coalition strike carried out without taking into account the distance that had been covered resulted in casualties among our forces, too.”

Steve Warren, a US military spokesman in Baghdad, said the reported strike is under investigation.

US warplanes have purportedly been conducting airstrikes against Daesh terrorists in Iraq since the early August of 2014. Some Western states have also participated in some of the strikes in Iraq.

The coalition, however, has done little to stop the terrorists’ advances in parts of Syria and in western Iraq.


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