Hearts, minds, and war crimes.
The United States military on Wednesday denied reports that a helicopter gunship fired on a primary school north of Baghdad but confirmed at least two children were killed in an attack on insurgent bombers.
A statement from US headquarters in Baghdad said attack helicopters went into action on Tuesday near Mandali, a small town in Diyala province, when pilots spotted militants planting a bomb near an illegal checkpoint.
Following the air strike, US forces dispatched to the area were told by Iraqi civilians that the two bombers were killed along with five bystanders, two of them children, the statement said.
Iraqi police Captain Ayad Hussein had earlier told reporters that “seven students” were killed when Mandali’s Al-Saada primary school was fired upon by Apache helicopter gunships on Tuesday morning.
“When we went to ask the Americans in the region, they told us that the helicopter came under fire from regions near the school,” Sheikh Mohammed Saab al-Naddawi of the Nida tribe told AFP.
“But later, a US patrol came to the region and apologised saying that it was a mistake made by the pilot,” he added.