Local TV station Al-Sumaria reported eight people were killed and ten more were injured as a result of an U.S.-Iraqi joint forces airstrike in the town of Al-Baghdadi in the northwestern province of Anbar. Local police chief Colonel Salam al-Obeidi was also killed after the U.S; helicopter opened fire on his convoy.
There is no official information on the reasons for the attack, but a provincial security source told Xinhua news the victims were “mistakenly killed” during a clash between U.S.-Iraqi joint force and local police and paramilitary tribal fighters.
The incident occurred when U.S.-Iraqi forces raided the house of a terrorist suspect catching the tribal fighters and local police by surprise, Captain Mohammed al-Dulaimi from the provincial police told Xinhua. Local police and tribal forces went to the site to identify the troops, but a clash erupted, and U.S. helicopter pounded the local police and the tribal fighters.
According to a statement by the Iraqi Joint Operations Command their target, Islamic State militant Kareem Afat Ali al-Samarmad was arrested during the raid before the clashes took place. The casualties could’ve been avoided through coordination among the non-hostile forces.
Since 2014 the United States has been leading a military coalition against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, leaving thousands of civilian deaths and casualties. Saturday’s attack came after the Iraqi security forces reclaimed key cities and towns held by Islamic State militants, including Anbar's capital of Ramadi.
Kurdistan 24 News reported that Senior Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr expressed concerns about the incident via Twitter, calling it a “blatant assault” on Iraq and its government, and demanding “accountability and punishment from the aggressors.”