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Iraq to investigate 1 officer killed, 2 wounded amid coalition air strikes

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Iraq’s Joint Operations Command announced on Friday it will open “an investigation commission” after two Federal Police were wounded and one killed while the US-led international anti-ISIS coalition conducted activities around Kirkuk province.

Iraqi Interior Minister Aqeel Mahmoud al-Khazali confirmed in a Facebook post that the investigation will take place, following the casualties to the 11th Brigade of the Federal Police.

Joint Operations Command is responsible for coordinating with all state-sponsored armed forces in the country.

The coalition, as first reported by The Jerusalem Post, has announced that there were reports of the casualties.

“One Iraqi Federal Police member was reportedly killed and two were wounded by Coalition Forces supporting Iraqi Security Force counter-Daesh operations near al-Dib, Iraq,” coalition spokesperson US Army Col. Scott Rawlinson confirmed to Rudaw English on Friday.

“The wounded are in stable condition and receiving medical care. The incident is under investigation,” it added.

The mountainous Hamrin area is located about 160 kilometers north of Baghdad and 70 kilometers south of Kirkuk.

Islamic State (ISIS) remnants have remained active there. Earlier this month two brigades of Iraq’s elite Counter-Terrorism Forces (ICTS) began intensive operations in the area.

Through the ISIS conflict, the US-trained ICTS have served as the spearhead of Iraqi offensives against the extremists. Other units like the Federal Police, Army, Rapid Response Units, and paramilitias have been used to hold liberated territory.

JPost cited social media accounts claiming the strikes took place on Wednesday at a Federal Police checkpoint which had been mistakenly targeted.

Al-Ahad TV in Iraq reported coalition helicopters were involved in the strikes.

The channel is close to Asaib Ahl al-Haq, a group that is commanded by Qais al-Khazali and fought as a paramilitary during the ISIS conflict. It is known to have links to Iran and hold anti-US sentiment.

Amnesty International reported as early as 2017 that “armed men” would simply wear Federal Police uniforms. UNHCR has documented testimony of the Federal Police working with “others in desert camouflage military uniforms.”

Former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared ISIS was defeated in Iraq in December 2018.

The prime minister is the supreme commander of all Iraqi armed forces. Throughout last year’s election analysts questioned Abadi’s control and coordination of official state-backed forces.