OTTAWA — Canadian soldiers opened fire on enemy positions in Iraq over the last week in what a senior officer called an act of self-defence.

Brig.-Gen. Michael Rouleau, commander of special operations command, says the soldiers were visiting front-line positions with Iraqi forces when they came under mortar and machine-gun fire.

The Canadians, whose job is to train and advise the Iraqi military in their battle against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, were at the front to help plan an Iraqi operation.

Rouleau says the Canadians used sniper fire and “neutralized” the enemy positions without taking any casualties.

The general says that while Canadian soldiers are not participating in active combat in Iraq, they do have the right to fire back if fired upon.

He says most of their effort involves training Iraqi soldiers in battlefield skills ranging from medical assistance to mortar fire.