The Pentagon says a US airstrike against Daesh (ISIL) terrorists may have killed many Iraqi soldiers in Fallujah in Anbar province.
“Despite coordination with the Iraqi security forces on the ground, initial reports indicate the possibility one of the strikes resulted in the death of Iraqi soldiers,” the US military said in a statement on Friday.
The military claimed it was the first reported incident of so-called “friendly fire” during Operation Inherent Resolve, which aims to flush ISIL militants out of Anbar province.
The statement did not show how many soldiers were killed in the airstrike.
However, a senior Iraqi official told Sputnik news agency that the US strike killed at least 20 soldiers and injured more than 30.
“The 55th brigade [of the Iraqi Army] was hit by the US aviation. More than 20 soldiers were killed and over 30 servicemen were wounded as a result of the airstrike,” Hakim al-Zamili, head of the Iraqi Parliament’s Security and Defense Committee, told Sputnik.
According to Iraqi officials, the incident occurred as Iraqi ground forces were on the verge of liberating an area in the south of Fallujah from terrorists.
The Iraqi army and allied forces have managed to recapture most parts of the desert province, including several districts of its capital Ramadi, which fell into the hands of Daesh in May.
In a similar incident in Syria, US warplanes hit a military base hosting Syrian forces east of the country on December 7.
US warplanes have purportedly been conducting airstrikes against Daesh terrorists, who were initially trained by the CIA to destabilize the Syrian government, in Iraq and since early August of 2014. Some Western states have also participated in some of the strikes in Iraq.
The US-led coalition has done little to stop the ISIL’s advances in parts of Syria and in western Iraq.