Seven Iraqi civilians killed by US Helicopter attack in Al-Anbar

Elias Hubbard
January 27, 2018

Followers of Iraq's influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr chant slogans demanding government reform as they wave national flags during a demonstration in Baghdad on Friday.

Eight Iraqis were killed on Saturday, majority security personnel, in a United States (US) air strike that apparently targeted them by mistake, a provincial official said.

The clashes took place at midnight when a USA and Iraqi joint force raided the house of a terrorist suspect in al-Baghdadi town, about 190 kilometers northwest of Iraq's capital, Captain Mohammed al-Dulaimi from the provincial police told Xinhua.

The officers said Saturday the US forces had thought the victims in the al-Baghdadi area were militants.

The Joint Operations Command said they had opened an investigation into the incident and would release further information soon.

Despite the government's declaration of victory over IS last month, the jihadists remain active underground in several regions of Iraq, particularly along the Euphrates Valley and in the vast desert to its west.

"The Joint Operations Command received accurate intelligence about the presence of a terrorist leader, Kareem Afat Ali al-Samarmad, in a house in the al-Baghdadi district to meet with a terrorist cell preparing to carry out operations against security forces and citizens", an Iraqi Joint Operations Command statement read.

It said it had requested "air support from the worldwide coalition".

For more than three years, a US -led coalition has supported Iraq in a massive campaign to expel Islamic State extremists from the country.

The strike destroyed most of the vehicles in the convoy and also wounded 20 people, including the town's police chief, who was in a serious condition, the provincial official said.

There was no comment from the USA -led coalition on the incident.

"We demand accountability and punishment from the aggressors immediately", Sadr added.

Separately on Friday, the USA -led coalition said a total of 831 civilians have been killed in coalition airstrikes by the end of 2017 during the three-year war against Islamic State in both Iraq and Syria.

Airwars, an independent monitoring group, has said that number is implausible given the intensity of the war, particularly in Islamic State's self-declared capitals of Mosul and Raqqa and that their research has shown that up to 9,210 non-combatants were killed by the end of a year ago.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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