A US helicopter gunship has killed 13 Iraqi civilians in the town of Iskandriyah. The US claims that some of its troops came under fire from “gunmen” in the area 30 miles south of Baghdad.
The helicopter opened fire on targets it said were “insurgents”, but it has since been revealed they were its Iraqi allies in the Awakening Council militia.
The home was bombed in the same attack.
The raid, described as “a mistake” by the US military, comes after similar incidents last year. In July helicopters attacked homes in the Husseiniya neighbourhood of Baghdad, killing up to 18 people.
In November a US airstrike killed 45 members of the Awakening Council while they manned checkpoints in one of Baghdad’s neighbourhoods.
Meanwhile in the restive northern Diyala province, US troops set fire to eight buildings as part of a new “scorched earth policy”.
The province has become the centre of resistance to the US troop “surge” on Iraq.