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US-led coalition denies conducting new Baghdad air strike

US-led coalition denies conducting new Baghdad air strike

A picture published by the media office of the Iraqi military's joint operations forces shows a destroyed vehicle on fire following a US strike on Baghdad international airport road in which top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani was killed. (Photo: AFP/-)

BAGHDAD: The US-led coalition fighting Islamic State said on Saturday (Jan 4) it did not conduct any air strikes near Camp Taji north of Baghdad.

Earlier on Saturday, Iraq's Popular Mobilisation Forces umbrella grouping of paramilitary groups said air strikes near camp Taji had killed six people and critically wounded three.

Iraqi state television had said they were US air strikes.

READ: New air strike on pro-Iran convoy in Iraq ahead of Soleimani funeral

"FACT: the coalition ... did not conduct airstrikes near Camp Taji (north of Baghdad) in recent days," a spokesman said on Twitter.

The PMF said the attacks hit a convoy of medics, not senior leaders as reported in some media.

A US air strike on Baghdad airport on Friday killed Qassem Soleimani, Tehran's most prominent military commander and the architect of its growing influence in the Middle East, and the leader of Iraq's PMF Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

The overnight attack, authorised by US President Donald Trump, was a major escalation in a "shadow war" in the Middle East between Iran and the United States and American allies, principally Israel and Saudi Arabia.

READ: US says it 'terminated' Soleimani to thwart attack on Americans; deploys troops

READ: General Qasem Soleimani: Iran's regional pointman

The PMF are holding an elaborate funeral procession for both men and others who died in the same air strike starting in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone, moving towards the Shi'ite holy city of Kerbala and ending in the Shi'ite holy city of Najaf.

Thousands had already gathered in Baghdad ahead of the start of the procession early on Saturday morning, some waving Iraqi and militia flags.

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