US aircraft kills nine Iraqi soldiers

(Reuters)
(Reuters)

A United States aircraft has mistakenly killed nine Iraqi soldiers during an offensive against the Islamic State (IS).

The BBC is reporting Iraq's defence minister Khaled al-Obeidi has confirmed an air strike by the US-led coalition killed nine Iraqi soldiers, including an officer.

Coalition strikes were called on to support ground troops near Fallujah on Friday (local time), but the scale of their advance was underestimated.

"The coalition air forces were covering the advance of army ground troops near Fallujah because the Iraqi army helicopters were not able to fly due to the bad weather," Mr al-Obeidi told BBC.

Two initial air strikes were carried out allowing Iraqi soldiers to advance on the jihadists in close combat.

A third air strike was carried out without taking into account the distance that had been covered, which resulted in deaths among Iraqi forces too, Iraq's joint operations command said in a statement.

"The coalition offers condolences on the unfortunate loss of life of brave Iraq security forces on the front lines in the fight against Daesh," a statement from the US military said.

US Defence Secretary Ash Carter has spoken with Iraq's PM to express his condolences.

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