US-led coalition denies carrying out deadly Iraq raid

AFP , Sunday 23 Oct 2016

The US-led coalition on Sunday denied carrying out an air strike that killed 15 women at a Shia place of worship in northern Iraq this week.

Russia pointed an accusatory finger at the coalition a day after Friday's incident, in which local officials said women at a shrine in the town of Daquq were killed by an air strike.

The coalition "has determined definitively that we did not conduct the airstrike w/reported civilian casualties in Daquq," spokesman Colonel John Dorrian said on social media.

The local council chief and medics in Daquq, which lies south of Kirkuk and about 200 kilometres (120 miles) north of Baghdad, said the deadly incident was caused by an air raid.

If the coalition did not carry it out, the other aircraft most likely to have operated in the area are from the Iraqi air force or army aviation.

Neither have made any comment yet but the office of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said it ordered an investigation into the incident.

"The results will be announced as soon as it is completed," a statement said.

Turkish jets have also routinely conducted air strikes in Iraq but they usually target Kurdish rebel positions in areas far removed from Daquq.

Recent incidents and discoveries in workshops used by the Islamic State group suggest the jihadists have been trying to develop weaponised drones.

The Conflict Armament Research group said it had documented earlier this year a drone manufactured by IS forces and used in the Daquq area but described it as "too light to carry explosives or other weapons".

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