A U.S. military attack that killed nearly a dozen Iraqi soldier allies was a “mistake,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter admitted on Saturday.
“These kinds of things happen when you’re fighting side by side as we are,” Carter told reporters of Friday’s airstrike near Falluja, which killed an estimated 10 people.
One U.S. military official told CBS that the attack was reportedly made in coordination with Iraqi forces, and that bad weather could have been a factor in the accident. “The folks on the ground who we were communicating with were closer to the targeting area than we understood,” the official said.
Asked if he was worried the deaths might further anger Iraqi citizens who may not be happy with the American and coalition presence in Iraq, Carter said, “I hope Iraqis will understand that this is a reflection of things that happen in combat. But it’s also a reflection of how closely we are working with the government” of Iraq.
No other details of the attack were provided, though a U.S. military statement indicated it was one of a number strikes that occurred that day.
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