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Friendly fire incident to test public appetite for Iraq mission: analyst

Sergeant Andrew Joseph Doiron, a member of the Canadian Special Operations Regiment based at Garrison Petawawa, Ontario, was killed Friday, March 6, 2015 in Iraq.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/ho-Canadian Armed Forces
March 09, 2015 - 8:25 AM

OTTAWA - A defence analyst says the death of a Canadian soldier in Iraq could test the public's appetite for the mission, but he says he believes support for the campaign has been stronger than ever following last fall's attacks on home soil.

Sgt. Andrew Joseph Doiron was killed on Friday and three others were wounded in a friendly fire incident that Defence Minister Jason Kenney has described as a tragic "failure of identification."

Carleton University defence expert Stephen Saideman says Canadians are probably more willing to tolerate casualties in Iraq following the deadly attack in Ottawa last October by a gunman who blamed his rampage on Canada's military interventions in the Middle East.

Saideman also says the public may be more willing to risk the lives of its soldiers because the mission in Iraq has had success limiting the advance of Islamic State fighters.

A spokesman for Kurdish forces in Iraq told The Associated Press that peshmerga fighters fired on the Canadians after they showed up in the village of Bashiq unannounced and ignored an order to stay in their car.

Saideman says it's unclear at this point whether the incident will sour relations between the peshmerga and the Canadian Forces.

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the gunman who stormed Parliament Hill in October, said in a video released by the Mounties last week that his actions were spurred by Canada's military involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Zehaf-Bibeau fatally shot honour guard Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the National War Memorial before charging into Centre Block, where he was gunned down in a shoot out.

Two days before Zehaf Bibeau's attack, a man with jihadist sympathies struck and killed Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent with a car in Quebec.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2015
The Canadian Press

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