Though violence in northern Iraq has not been uncommon in recent weeks, US attack helicopters were involved in an extremely rare attack in the southern port city of Basra, attacking what they termed “suspected militia fighters” in the wake of a rocket attack against US and Iraqi troops.
The official report said that they saw two people loading and launching rockets and attacked, killing one and wounding two others. Local media reported that in addition to these casualties, a civilian was killed and as many as four others wounded.
The Pentagon confirmed later in the day that they were familiar with the reports but had no information regarding civilian casualties. They did, however, promise to investigate the claims.
The Shi’ite dominated Basra lies far from the Sunni areas were al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) is still active, and has been quiet for quite some time. It is unclear who the faction was responsible for the rocket fire.