US troops mistakenly kill six anti-Qaeda fighters in Iraq

March 22nd, 2008 - 5:12 pm ICT by admin  

Tikrit (Iraq), March 22 (Xinhua) An American helicopter mistakenly opened fire on an Awakening Councils’ group patrol in Salahudin province, killing six fighters of the group, a provincial police source said Saturday. The incident took place at dawn in the Um al-Talayeb village south of the city of Samarra, some 120 km north of Baghdad, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

Two more fighters of the patrol were wounded by the helicopter attack and were transported by the US ground forces to their base for treatment, the source said.

The source criticised the US forces for the inefficiency in their coordination with the Iraqi anti-Qaeda groups of the Sunni tribal fighters, who supposedly have been frequently attacked by American troops by mistake.

The area where the incident took place has long been a stronghold of the Al Qaeda network in Iraq despite many offensives launched by the US and Iraqi security forces against the militants, the source said.

However, the US military has not confirmed the incident yet. Two days ago, a provincial police source said that a US gunship targeted a car on a main road near Samarra, killing six passengers.

The US military denied the allegation, saying a helicopter targeted “terrorists” while they were planting bombs.

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