The coalition leading the campaign against the Islamic State is denying a militia’s claim that its attack earlier this month on Camp Taji in Iraq caused the crash of a C-130H Hercules.
Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve said June 8 that the Hercules overran the runway at the base north of Baghdad and crashed into a wall, sparking a fire and injuring four service members.
But the Long War Journal, a news site that tracks developments in the war on terror, reported June 19 that a group called the League of the Revolutionaries — an Iranian proxy operating in Iraq — released a statement that said it carried out a rocket attack on Camp Taji that evening, and claiming responsibility for the crash.
“The bombing of the runway at the Taji base at the time of the landing of a Lockheed C-130 which [sic] led to the plane crashing and causing a great loss to the enemy,” the League of the Revolutionaries statement read, according to Long War Journal.
The group also posted a video purportedly showing rockets being launched at Camp Taji’s runway.
But the coalition said in an email to Air Force Times that the C-130′s crash was not caused by enemy action.
“These claims are false,” Marine Corps Capt. Matthew Morris, a spokesman for the coalition, said. “The … C-130H mishap occurred independently of any enemy interference.”
Morris said the incident is still under investigation, and that further details will be released in accordance with the Air Force’s aviation mishap investigation process.
Long War Journal said the League of the Revolutionaries also claimed it had placed a drone over Camp Taji before the alleged attack to monitor movement there.
At the time of the crash, the coalition said enemy action was not suspected.
The C-130 was from the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing at Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait. There were seven crew members and 26 passengers aboard, an Iraqi official said at the time.
The injuries sustained by the four service members — including two pilots — were not life-threatening.
Stephen Losey covers leadership and personnel issues as the senior reporter for Air Force Times. He comes from an Air Force family, and his investigative reports have won awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover Air Force operations against the Islamic State.