Mix-up sees Iraq pilot drop aid, ammo for ISIS instead of govt troops

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Reuters/Axel Heimken

An Iraqi pilot accidentally dropped aid and ammunition into territory controlled by the Islamic State. They were intended to help government forces in the west of Iraq, but instead the blunder ended up aiding the enemy.

The mistake was confirmed by two Iraqi officials, who said the airdrop of food, water and ammunition was meant to take place in Anbar province. However, the inexperienced pilot got his bearings a little mixed up and unloaded the cargo in the wrong place, according to NBC News.

“Those soldiers were in deadly need of these supplies,” said Hakim al-Zamili, an Iraqi MP. However they ended up benefitting the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS or ISIL) because of the “wrong plans of the commanders in the Iraqi army and lack of experience” among the Iraqi pilots.

A brigadier in the Iraqi army, who did not want to be named, said that the incident took place on September 19 and also bemoaned the lack of flight time and combat skills of some of the pilots in the air force.

They “do not have enough experience … they are all young and new,” the brigadier said.

Meanwhile in Syria in late September, US-led coalition airstrikes destroyed grain silos and other targets in parts of northern and eastern Syria dominated by the IS, killing civilians while only wounding ISIS fighters, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The overnight bombings hit mills and grain storage facilities in Manbij, a militant-held town in northern Syria. Coalition forces possibly mistook the structures for IS holdings, the group added.

The US military responded to the claims, saying Islamic State vehicles were adjacent to the grain storage facility and there is no evidence of civilian casualties.

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