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    Iraq Confirms 9 Killed in US Friendly Fire, Pentagon Blames 'Both Sides'

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    Iraq's minister of defense has confirmed that eight soldiers and an officer were killed following a US airstrike on Iraqi security forces in Fallujah province on Friday. The Pentagon, meanwhile, suggests that the deadly case of friendly fire may have been the result of "a mistake that involved both sides," AP reports.

    Iraqi Defense Minister Khaled al-Obeidi has confirmed that nine soldiers, including an officer, were killed following an US airstrike near the city of Fallujah on Friday.

    "The coalition air forces were covering the advance of army ground troops near Fallujah because the Iraqi army helicopters were not able to fly due to bad weather. The final death toll of the strike is nine soldiers killed, including an army officer," al-Obeidi said, speaking at a news conference on Saturday.

    Later on Saturday, having expressed his condolences to Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in a telephone conversation, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said that the friendly fire incident may have been the result of "a mistake that involved both sides." 

    Carter added that he and the al-Abadi had "agreed that this was an event that we both regretted and that there would be an investigation of it, but that these kinds of things happen when you're fighting side by side."

    In a statement late Friday, the Iraqi defense ministry said that "the distance between our forces and the enemy was very close, meters. Our forces got mixed."

    However, one of the officers injured in the attack questioned the assessment, saying that "we were moving forward and Daesh were retreating, when suddenly the bombing took place on the forces that were behind us." The officer suggested that the fact that officers had been injured (and one killed) confirmed that the airstrike wasn't targeting the frontline.

    Following the strike, Hakim Zamili, the head of the Iraqi parliament's Security and Defense Committee, told Sputnik that he had asked the prime minister to launch an investigation into this "very serious" incident. "We will go to court over this crime, there will be a hearing," Zamili added.

    Related:

    Pentagon Admits Coalition Strike May Have Killed Iraqi Soldiers
    Video Allegedly Shows Deadly US Strike on Iraqi Forces
    Iraqi Authorities to Go to Court Over Deadly US Airstrike
    Tags:
    friendly fire, airstrike, Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Pentagon, Iraq, United States
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