JERUSALEM – A U.S. airstrike appears to have killed 10 Iraqi soldiers in a friendly fire incident that took place while the U.S. Air Force was striking Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria on Friday.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Saturday called the incident a “mistake that involved both sides.” He said that the event “has all the indications of being a mistake of the kind that can happen on a dynamic battlefield.”
“These kinds of things happen when you’re fighting side by side as we are,” added Carter, who said he phoned Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to express his condolences.
“He and I agreed that this was a event that we both regretted,” Carter said of the call. “It’s tragic . . . but he and I both recognized that things like this can happen in war.”
“I hope Iraqis will understand that this is a reflection of things that happen in combat,” Carter told reporters, speaking during a visit to the USS Kearsarge, an American assault ship currently based in the Gulf . “But it’s also a reflection of how closely we are working.”
The incident took place near the city of Fallujah, which is held by Islamic State.
The Washington Post reported:
Defense minister Khalid al-Abeidi said Iraqi one officer was killed and nine soldiers also died in the strike Friday. He said the death toll was a “correction” to earlier numbers that said just one Iraqi soldier had died, a fact that was disputed by soldiers who witnessed the strike.
The Wall Street Journal cited Hakim al-Zamili, a parliamentarian and the head of Iraq’s security and defense committee, demanding that Abadi’s government initiates an immediate investigation.
“We need to make sure we’re not sacrificing our soldiers,” Zamili said.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.