Iraqi F16 pilot at Balad airbase, north of Baghdad, signals victory sign in one of his missions against the Islamci State. Photo: Rudaw
BAGHDAD, Iraq – Iraq’s Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri condemned what he called an airstrike against civilians in the western province of Anbar that reportedly killed and injured tens of civilians “by mistake.”
There were some unconfirmed reports on Wednesday that an airstrike targeted civilians in al-Qaim on Wednesday, an Iraqi town still under ISIS control near the Syrian border.
Airstrikes over Iraq are conducted by the US-led coalition against ISIS or the Iraqi air force. The coalition said it did not conduct airstrikes in the area.
“CJTF-OIR (Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve) is aware of reports of civilian casualties near Al Qaim. We did not conduct strikes in the area around the time of the incident,” John Dorrian, the spokesperson for the coalition, said in a tweet late on Wednesday.
Jabouri said they hold the Iraqi government responsible, but Baghdad has kept silent on the incident.
“The parliament speaker holds the (Iraqi) government responsible for committing such mistakes while calling on it to open an immediate investigation to reveal the truth and guarantee that it will not happen again,” said an official statement on al-Jabouri’s Facebook page.
Calls by Rudaw to the office of Iraq’s prime minister and the defence ministry’s media office went unanswered.
The Iraqi army announced in early October that it deployed thousands of troops to the Syrian border to liberate the last remaining territories under ISIS control in Anbar province.
The deployment was in the far west of the Iraqi province of Anbar, the largest by area. The Iraqi army, supported by Shiite and pro-government Sunni fighters, regained its capital city of Ramadi in late 2015.
Three brigades, numbering about 3,000 Iraqi soldiers in total and supported by tanks and artillery, were deployed for the offensive.