American troops have killed an Iraqi policeman and injured two others while allegedly transferring a group of Daesh Takfiri terrorists in the country’s northern province of Kirkuk.
The incident happened after American troops were deployed to the region by helicopter in an attempt to airlift the terrorists to an undisclosed region, Iraq’s Alahad television network reported on Friday.
The operation turned deadly after US forces opened fire on an Iraqi police unit nearby. Iraqi forces had been monitoring the Daesh elements but were not informed of the US operation.
Iraq’s Joint Operations Command (JOC) later issued a statement announcing the formation of a committee investigating the incident.
During an interview with the Alahad, Iraqi law expert Ali al-Tamimi claimed the incident was a case of intentional murder that should be dealt with according to Iraqi law.
Tamimi stressed that based on mutual agreements, the military immunity of US forces expired after the 2011 withdrawal from Iraq.
The Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq group, a main component of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), later issued a statement describing the incident as a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty.
The statement said that despite Washington’s claims that US military presence in the country is to provide military and logistical assistance to Iraqi forces, American forces have operated in the country at will and without coordination with Iraqi forces.
While circumstances surrounding the incident remain unclear, this is not the first incident where US forces have ‘airlifted’ Daesh terrorists to undisclosed locations. Many similar cases have also been reported in Syria.
Daesh overran large swaths of Syria and Iraq in offensives beginning in 2014. The group was, however, militarily defeated by the governments of the two countries in the course of some four years.
Speculations have been made about Washington’s direct or indirect support for the terrorist group in the past years.
Numerous accounts have emerged alleging airlifts, weapon airdrops and aerial support for the group, especially as its strength gradually diminished in the region.