Iraqi pilots mistakenly drop food, arms to ISIS

The pilots sought to deliver aid to soldiers besieged by the militants

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The Iraqi air force mistakenly dropped food, water and arms to ISIS militants last month, a security official said on Wednesday.

“Some pilots transporting aid – arms and food – did not drop the relief to some soldiers in besieged areas especially Brigades 1 and 30,” Hakim Al-Zamili, a member of the Parliament’s security and defense committee, told Al Arabiya News.

Al Arabiya’s sister channel Al Hadath reported that the government had launched an inquiry into the embarrassing incident, which reportedly took place on Sept. 19 in Saglawyah in the Anbar province.

Iraqi media reported that the air force was trying to drop food and ammunition to Iraqi soldiers besieged by ISIS militants in Saglawyah when the aid was mistakenly delivered to the militants.

“The pilots either do not have enough experience, intelligence or it was a technical mistake,” Ghassan Attiyah, president of the Iraqi Foundation for Development and Democracy, told Al Arabiya News.

“In order for strikes to be precise, there needs to be advanced equipment coupled with on-the-ground intelligence to help them locate [ISIS] targets,” the London-based Attiyah, who authored “The Making of Iraq: 1908-20,” said.

While planes reportedly lacked the proper Intelligence on the ground, “they also need additional features. Do they have these features enough to locate the targets with precision?” he asked.

But Attiyah said mistakes are not uncommon in wars where the frontlines are often blurry and noted the limited “coordination” between Iraq’s air forces and ground troops.

Erbil-based analyst Ali Abdulamir blamed the pilot’s “weak experience” for the incident.

“Most of these pilots were recalled after leaving their job a long time ago,” he told Al Hadath.

Iraq’s new Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi recently sent two top generals to retirement in a bid to reform the armed forces.

Abdulamir said the government also needs to dismiss and investigate other generals deemed responsible for the army’s poor performance, especially after losing large swaths of land to ISIS militants.

“U.S. reports say that a quarter of the Iraqi forces are capable, and this is to beautify the shameful face of the so-called Iraqi army,” Abdulamir said.

“This is incorrect, there are no Iraqi forces; the Iraqi army collapsed and what we have are militias who volunteered,” he added.

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