Iraqi military says coalition airstrike hit its forces

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Baghdad: Dec 19; The Iraqi military said an airstrike by the U.S.-led coalition hit its forces Friday, the first time it has reported a friendly-fire incident since American jets began bombing Islamic State militants in the country last year.

The strike took place as the Iraqi army engaged in close combat with the militants in poor weather conditions south of the city of Fallujah, about 40 miles west of Baghdad, the Iraqi Defense Ministry said in a statement. One soldier was killed, and nine were injured, it said.

But soldiers said the death toll was higher. One officer injured in the strike, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the news media, said 25 soldiers were killed and 37 were wounded. A military medic said he had treated at least 20 injured soldiers.

The U.S.-led coalition said it had launched an investigation and offered condolences to the Iraqi security forces. In a statement, it confirmed that coalition planes had conducted several airstrikes in the area.

"Despite coordination with the Iraqi security forces on the ground, initial reports indicate the possibility one of the strikes resulted in the death of Iraqi soldiers," it said.
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