Two American soldiers have been killed in what appears to be the first publicly reported friendly fire incident involving a Predator drone. The armed, unmanned aerial craft have come under scrutiny as their use in Afghanistan has increased in recent years.
Marine Staff Sgt. Jeremy Smith and Navy Corpsman Benjamin Rast were reportedly killed Wednesday by a Hellfire missile fired from a U.S. Air Force Predator in what appears to be a case of mistaken identity, NBC reported. Smith and Rast were part of a Marine unit moving in to reinforce fellow Marines under heavy fire from enemy forces outside Sangin in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan.
The Marines under fire were watching streaming video of the battlefield being fed to them by an armed Predator overhead. They saw a number of "hot spots," or infrared images, moving in their direction. Apparently believing that those "hot spots" were the enemy, they called in a Hellfire missile strike from the Predator.
It's believed that this is the first time that U.S. service members have been killed by a Predator in a friendly fire incident.
Read the full story at NBC News.