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Iraqi police officer killed by Coalition ‘friendly fire’ near Kirkuk

U.S.-led anti-ISIS Coalition forces killed one member of the Iraqi Federal Police and wounded two others in a friendly fire incident outside of Kirkuk on Wednesday, the Coalition said on Friday.

“On April 24, one Iraqi Federal Police member was reportedly killed and 2 were wounded by Coalition Forces supporting Iraqi Security Force counter-Daesh operations near al-Dib, Iraq,” The Jerusalem Post reported a Coalition spokesperson as saying via email on Friday,

“Wounded are in stable condition and receiving medical care. The incident is under investigation,” the spokesperson added.

Reports circulated in Iraqi media on Wednesday that Coalition aircraft struck Iraqi Federal Police forces in near the towns of Riyadh and Hawija, southwest of Kirkuk city.

Iraq’s al-Ahad TV reported the incident was an airstrike carried out by Coalition helicopters. The network is affiliated with Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, a Shi’a paramilitary organization that forms part of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces.

The Iraqi Defense Ministry has not confirmed the incident. Two ministry spokespeople did not return requests for comment by publication time.

Coalition-backed Iraqi security forces have increased operations in the Kirkuk countryside, a hotbed of ISIS activity, in recent weeks.

Iraq’s Counterterrorism Services launched an operation earlier this week to clear ISIS from the Shai Valley south of Kirkuk with Coalition support.

Iraq’s Joint Operations Command announced the death of six ISIS fighters and the destruction of a number of tunnels, hideouts and two weapons caches as part of the operation.

Earlier this month, Iraqi Special Operations Forces initiated a large-scale Coalition-backed clearing operation against the group in the Hamrin Mountains.

Iraq’s CTS announced the killing a senior ISIS commander near Baqubah earlier this month as part of the operation, Reuters reported.

Early last year, Iraqi Army forces mistakenly called in a Coalition airstrike on Iraqi police forces northwest of Baghdad, killing 11, including a local official, Reuters reported.

Following that incident, then-Coalition spokesperson Colonel Ryan Dillon tweeted that all Coalition airstrikes are conducted either at the request or with the approval of Iraqi forces.

CJTF-OIR did not respond to the Defense Post’s request for comment on Wednesday’s incident by publication time.

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