Iraqi Defense Minister Khaled al-Obeidi gestures during a press conference in the Jordanian capital, Amman, on April 8, 2015. (AFP photo)
Baghdad says it has opened an investigating into a recent airstrike carried out by the United States in Anbar Province, which claimed the lives of at least 10 Iraqi soldiers.
Iraqi Defense Minister Khaled al-Obeidi made the announcement on Saturday, a day after the airstrike hit the Iraqi army’s 3rd Division 55th Brigade, located near the city of Fallujah in Anbar Province, west of Baghdad.
“We lost 10 of our soldiers,” Obeidi said, adding “an investigation into the incident was opened.”
According to the statement by the Joint Operations Command, the strike came as Iraqi forces were engaged in close combat with terrorist positions in Anbar Province.
The AFP photo shows Iraqi mourners carrying the body of one of the soldiers killed the previous day in a US airstrike west of Baghdad, on December 19, 2015 during a funeral in the city of Najaf.
Following the airstrike, Hakim al-Zamili, the head of Iraqi parliament’s Security and Defense Committee, accused Washington of deliberately hindering Baghdad’s military advances in its fight against Daesh militants in Anbar Province’s cities of Ramadi and Fallujah.
He also accused the US of launching airstrikes or dropping aerial packages and providing Daesh terrorists with weapons, saying the “crime” would be taken to court.
Meanwhile, the US military said that it would launch its own investigation into what it called the first “friendly fire incident” since Washington and its allies launched their airstrike campaign in June 2014 against alleged Daesh positions in the country’s north and west.
The airstrike came shortly after US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter went to Iraq to discuss plans of sending troops and helicopter gunships, a plan not approved by the Iraqi government.
Criticism has been on the rise against US military assistance in Iraq since the incident.
Prior to the airstrike on Friday, Baghdad on several occasions complained about the ineffectiveness of Washington’s airstrike campaign.
The Daesh terrorists have been committing vicious crimes against all ethnic and religious communities in Iraq, including Shias, Sunnis, Kurds, and Christians since summer last year.