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.
Back in October, American aircraft reportedly airlifted Daesh commanders from a northwestern town in Syria before the Syrian army staged an offensive to liberate the town from the terrorists.
In a report on Tuesday, Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency cited several eyewitnesses as saying that US aircraft had recently picked up Daesh commanders from the town of Mayadin, which was later liberated.
“American military aviation first made a maneuver in the area […] near a Mayadin farm. Then [it] launched an airstrike, we tried to hide and saw several US helicopters. There were foreign Daesh commanders on the ground, who were waiting for them next to their headquarters… The helicopters took them outside of Mayadin,” said Muhammad Awad Hussein, a local shepherd.
He further said that he saw “US aviation… first a sound from it, then a massive strike that was followed by the US helicopters’ flight and transportation of Daesh leaders after which the airstrikes ceased.”
The 79-year-old said he had served in the Syrian army and could distinguish American aircraft.
Other locals told the agency they had seen cars taking two foreign Daesh commanders and their families from the town to a command post run by the Takfiri terror outfit. They said the ringleaders then boarded helicopters and headed from there to an unknown location.
Mayadin is located in Dayr al-Zawr Province, the last area where pockets of the terrorists are still present in Syria. The town was liberated on October 14.
The Syrian army and its allies broke Daesh’s siege over Dayr al-Zawr Province’s capital city of the same name in September and fully liberated it on November 3. The Takfiris had first laid the siege in 2014, when they began their terror campaign against the Arab country.
The US has long been accused of colluding with Daesh to provide safe passage and logistical support to its members in conflict zones.