Multiple people have reportedly died following an air strike on Iraqi militia in the Taji region - where the New Zealand Defence Force has deployed personnel.

In November, the NZDF said it had 45 people currently on rotation at Camp Taji, a military complex in the region.

The Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) confirmed an attack today had hit one of its medical convoys with Reuters reporting six people had died.

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None of the group's top leaders were killed, the Associated Press reported, and a US official said the attack was not an American military attack.

It follows the death of Iranian official Qassem Soleimani who died in an air strike which hit Baghdad's airport on Friday.

Soleimani was the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp's foreign arm and the Quds Force. Militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was also killed.

Qassem Soleimani was killed in an airstrike. Photo / AP
Qassem Soleimani was killed in an airstrike. Photo / AP

Overnight, the US embassy in Baghdad instructed all Americans to "leave Iraq immediately".

Iran also vowed "harsh retaliation" for the air strike which killed its top general and architect of its interventions across the Middle East.

In June, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed rocket attacks had been taking place in the vicinity of Camp Taji.

"I'm told that none have come over and into the perimeter of the camp and therefore there have been no New Zealand casualties."

Ardern said she has also been advised, from time to time, there were rocket strikes in the vicinity of Camp Taji.


The tenth and last contingent of NZDF personnel taking part in the Building Partner Capacity Mission in Iraq arrived at Camp Taji in late November.

Since May 2015, more than 900 members had been deployed there, Commander Joint Forces New Zealand Rear Admiral Jim Gilmour said.

"The numbers of personnel have been reduced from 75 in the previous rotation to 45 in the current rotation," Gilmour said.

"We are reducing the number of personnel deployed to Camp Taji in line with the conclusion of the mission.

"Planning is under way with the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to ensure a smooth transition out of the mission by June, 30, 2020."

NZDF and ADF personnel had been jointly training Iraqi Security Forces in Camp Taji - with more than 46,000 receiving training.


Individual soldier skills, weapons handling and marksmanship at close quarters and long ranges were among the initial training focuses.

The Iraqi Security Forces had also been taught international human rights law and the Law of Armed Conflict.