Iraq command says “armed group” stricken by coalition jets in Anbar

International coalition aircraft

Anbar ( Iraq’s military command said an armed group was bombarded by U.S.-led coalition warplanes early Saturday in Anbar, a few hours after news reports said the jets mistakenly hit a local police officer and civilians.

The Joint Operations Command’s War Media Cell said that coalition warplanes struck an “armed group” in al-Baghdadi region, west of the province during a hunt for a terrorist element.

“The JOC possessed accurate intelligence information about the presence of a terrorist leader, Karim al-Samarmad, at a house in Baghdadi for a meeting preparing for an attack against security forces and citizens”, the command said in a statement.

It added that army forces, backed by coalition jets, moved to the area. Finishing the collection of evidence, the forces pulled back, only to detect “a gathering of gunmen”, which “aircraft targeted without coordination with the assigned force”, as the statement put it.

The statement did not mention the presence of civilians or security officials among that gathering, but earlier news reports said Baghdadi district’s police and the areas’ mayor were wounded in the strike, while at least seven civilians were killed.

The JOC said it was opening an investigation into the incident.

Iraqi forces have been backed by U.S.-led coalition warplanes since 2014 in their war against Islamic State militants. The coalition had admitted mistakenly killing hundreds of civilians in the process.

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