Iraq says coalition air strike kills or wounds 10 soldiers

The US-led coalition that has been bombing IS fighters in Iraq and Syria since August last year (AFP Photo/Patrick Baz) (AFP/File)

Baghdad (AFP) - Iraq's joint operations command said 10 Iraqi soldiers were killed or wounded Friday by so-called friendly fire from US-led coalition aircraft west of Baghdad.

The command, which oversees Iraq's war effort against the Islamic state group, said casualties occurred on both sides during a strike on IS during close combat.

The incident took place at around 1:00 pm (1000 GMT) south of the jihadist stronghold of Fallujah, military sources said.

Forces from Iraq's 3rd Division 55th Brigade had been advancing on IS positions near Amriyat al-Fallujah but could not be supported by the Iraqi air force due to bad weather, the command said.

"Aerial support from international coalition aircraft was requested. The coalition conducted two strikes aimed at the enemy, which resulted in significant losses among the enemy," the statement said.

"That allowed our forces to achieve quick progress and clash with the enemy in close combat," it said.

"A third coalition strike carried out without taking into account the distance that had been covered resulted in injuries among our forces too.

An officer and nine soldiers were killed or wounded, the command centre said without providing a breakdown.

Reacting to reports of a larger death toll before the statement was issued, the coalition's Baghdad-based spokesman, Colonel Steve Warren, told AFP that any serious allegation would be investigated.

"The strikes were accidental, not intentional. The forces were occupying positions close to those held by Daesh (IS) in Naimiyah," said a brigadier general from the area who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity.

Fallujah, just 50 kilometres (30 miles) west of the capital Baghdad, is IS's main stronghold in Anbar.

Iraqi forces backed by daily coalition air strikes have been battling jihadist fighters in the province's capital Ramadi, further west.