BEIRUT

Middle East

Iraq gunship apparently mistakes police for insurgents

Members of the Iraqi Special Operations Forces take their positions during clashes with the Al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) in the city of Ramadi June 19, 2014. (REUTERS/Stringer)

BAGHDAD: The crew of an Iraqi helicopter gunship apparently mistook a police patrol for insurgents Friday and opened fire on it and several houses, killing a civilian, officials and a witness said.

The incident took place in Dhuluyiyah, a town north of Baghdad seized by Sunni insurgents in a lightning sweep last week but subsequently retaken by government forces.

A police lieutenant colonel and a local official said the helicopter fire killed a woman and wounded four people.

A witness said that it appeared the pilot had mistaken the police patrol for insurgents, and then hit the houses as well.

Dhuluiyah is one of the closest points to Baghdad reached by the major militant offensive.

Iraqi security forces performed poorly during the initial assault, in some cases shedding uniforms to flee.

They appear to have recovered somewhat from the initial shock of the onslaught, regaining ground in certain areas, but the militants have advanced elsewhere.

 

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