One killed, seven injured

Iraqi military officers reveal details of joint operation and casualties in Tikrit

SALAH AL-DIN, August 29 — Senior officers within the Iraqi army revealed new details on Tuesday about an attack that resulted in the death of a French soldier and injury to seven others during an operation in the Al-Aith area of Salah Al-Din, east of Tikrit.

The officers highlighted that Iraqi forces, under recent agreements, sought assistance from French and Spanish forces for ground operations, while U.S. forces only conduct aerial movements.

“We often request assistance from French forces in ground operations, deploying seasoned officers and soldiers to be present alongside our Iraqi forces, who initiate their operations following airstrikes,” said one officer, who spoke to 964 on condition of anonymity.

“The killing of Paratrooper Sergeant Nicolas Mazier and others was attributed to the close involvement of these foreign forces during the mission. At times, they would be at the forefront and embedded among our troops,” the officer said. “We deeply regret the loss of this courageous individual who fought valiantly against the treacherous actions of ISIS.”

The region where the ambush occurred has witnessed a higher level of ISIS activity compared to other areas due to its geographic location between Diyala and Salah Al-Din governorates.

“F-16 aircraft targeted four hideouts in Salah Al-Din regions. Subsequent reconnaissance operations were carried out using drones to monitor the area, followed by an airborne assault conducted by Counter-Terrorism Service units in coordination with experienced French troops,” the officer continued.

The officer characterized the events as having been due to “a lack of meticulous planning, with command predominantly in the hands of Iraqi forces.”

“Through drone reconnaissance, it was initially determined that the area was free of ISIS presence, prompting the airborne operation to inspect the hideouts by Counter-Terrorism Service units alongside French forces,” he said.

“However, after the operation’s commencement, it was discovered that ISIS militants were present in nearby hideouts, estimated to number more than 20. A confrontation ensued, resulting in the death of a French soldier and injuries to three others, as well as four injuries among the Counter-Terrorism Service personnel.”