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Iraqi Drone Strike Mistakenly Kills Nine Fighters

An Iraqi drone strike has killed nine members of a pro-government militia force in an apparent case of so-called friendly fire.

The militiamen were part of the Hashid al-Shaabi, known as the Popular Mobilization Force, an umbrella group of mostly Iran-backed Shi'ite militias.

Ahmad al-Assadi, spokesman for the Hashid al-Shaabi, said the militiamen were responding to an Islamic State attack near the city of Tikrit.

"The initial report is that an Iraqi strike erroneously identified our forces as enemy forces and carried out a strike," he told AFP.

"The drone struck with a first missile and then two more seven minutes later," he said.

Assadi said 14 militiamen were also wounded.

The Islamic State group was defeated in Tikrit and most parts of Salaheddin Province last year but it maintains a presence in the desert regions.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters

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