A U.S. aircraft appears to have mistakenly carried out an air strike that killed Iraqi security forces near the city of Fallujah, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Saturday.

The Iraqi Minister of Defence Khaled al-Obeidi said earlier that nine soldiers died in the strike on Friday.

The U.S. military is leading an international coalition that is waging an air offensive on Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, where the militant group control large swaths of territory.

Obeidi told a news conference that the strike occurred when coalition air forces were covering the advance of Iraqi ground troops near Fallujah because the Iraqi army helicopters were not able to fly due to the bad weather.

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