ISIS slams Saudis' anti-terror group
THE Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) threatened to attack Saudi Arabia for "colluding with crusaders", after the oil-rich kingdom said it had established a 34-state Islamic military coalition to target the militants.
In a weekly publication documenting its military activities, ISIS described as "morons and fools" the 34 members of the coalition which Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Salman has said will be headquartered in Riyadh to coordinate mutual anti-terrorism assistance across the Islamic world.
"With permission from Allah, this alliance will be the beginning of the collapse of the governments of the oppressive tyrants in the lands of Islam," said an article entitled Mohammed Salman's Alliance Of Surprised Allies.
Confusion over the coalition's role, even among its own members, has cast doubt on an initiative widely seen as an effort by Saudi Arabia to solidify its claim to leadership of the Sunni world against Shi'ite Iran.
Another article criticised the participation of several Syrian rebel groups in a recent meeting in Riyadh which it said proved they were "disbelievers".
Saudi Arabia has been hit by a spate of deadly shootings and bomb attacks this year, many of them laid at the door of ISIS.
The terrorist group is bitterly opposed to Gulf Arab rulers and is seen as trying to stir up sectarian confrontation on the Arabian peninsula to bring about the overthrow of the ruling dynasties.
It has urged young Saudi Sunnis to attack targets including Shi'ites.
Meanwhile, United States-led coalition forces appear to have been responsible for air strikes that mistakenly killed several Iraqi soldiers, Defence Secretary Ash Carter said on Saturday.
The strike appears to have been "a mistake that involved both sides", Mr Carter told reporters, adding that he had called Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to express condolences.
Mr Carter made his remarks, which were broadcast widely in US media, while on a visit aboard the USS Kearsarge, an amphibious assault ship supporting coalition missions in Iraq and Syria against ISIS militants.
US media reported that the air strike is believed to be the first friendly fire incident in the coalition war on ISIS.
The Pentagon chief did not say how many soldiers died in the attack, but Iraqi officials put the toll at 10 dead.
"These kinds of things happen when you're fighting side by side as we are," Mr Carter told reporters, calling Friday's air strike, near the western Iraqi city of Fallujah, "regrettable".
The incident "has all the indications of being a mistake of the kind that can happen on a dynamic battlefield", he said.
A US military statement said all coalition air strikes against ISIS are conducted with the approval of the Iraqi government.
"To the best of our knowledge, there have been no previous incidents of friendly fire in Iraq involving the coalition during the course of Operation Inherent Resolve," it added, using the name for the coalition air campaign.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE