A top Iraqi general has claimed that the country's defense ministry had no idea about the joint U.S.-Kurdish military operation to save 69 hostages from the Islamic State group earlier this week, according to a Reuters report Friday. Gen. Tahsin Ibrahim Sadiq and other representatives of Iraq's military said they would be meeting with members of the U.S.-led coalition in Baghdad Friday to get details on what is one of the most significant raids on the terror group in months.
"We just heard this from the media; we didn't know about it," Sadiq said to reporters in Baghdad. "It was just the Peshmerga [Kurdish forces] and the Americans, and the Ministry of Defense didn't have any idea about that."
The military operation, which took place Thursday in the northern town of Hawija, was initiated after information obtained by the U.S. military suggested that the hostages were about to be killed and then dumped into four mass graves. It was initially believed that those in captivity were all Kurdish, but was later discovered that they were a mix of Kurds, Arabs, local residents, Iraqi soldiers and ISIS fighters that had been accused of spying.
It's not yet clear who or what prompted coalition forces to conduct such a risky mission. A CIA spokesman, speaking to Reuters, declined to comment on the suggestion that the rescued hostages had U.S. government connections. The Pentagon said the operation did not mark a change in U.S. tactics in the war on Islamic State militants, according to the Reuters report.
One U.S. soldier was killed during the operation, the first to die in combat in Iraq since the war ended there in late 2011, according to a CNN report.
ISIS is rumored to have a number of similar hostage sites all across the territory it holds in northern Iraq. Mass executions, similar to the one that was believed to be planned on Thursday, are carried out regularly against those accused of spying and assisting the enemy.