Officials reject reports of U.S. involvement in Sadr City airstrike
American military officials have rejected media reports that the U.S. military was involved in an airstrike in Sadr City early Friday. The airstrike was reported to have killed a number of civilians.
In a tersely worded statement released Saturday morning, the U.S. military command in Baghdad said, “Despite reports from individuals and some media organizations, coalition forces were not involved in airstrikes over Sadr City on Friday.”
Initial reports of the supposed strike apparently came from the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior and Iraqi television news outlets.
According to the state-sponsoredIraqiya TV, the airstrike allegedly killed 16 civilians in a village in the Sadr City area of Baghdad. The strike, the reports claimed, took place around 2 a.m. Friday.
Other news outlets, including CNN Arabic, reported that officials in the Interior Ministry confirmed the attack, saying that those killed were local civilian guards who provide security in the area.
The U.S. military has embarked on a wide-ranging campaign in the districts of Baghdad to increase their security presence and establish more posts in downtown areas. They have teamed with Iraqi police and soldiers to create dozens of new “combat outposts” in areas where there previously was a limited military presence.
The “surge” of U.S. troops involves bringing more than 20,000 additional troops into Baghdad.