Five Iraqi civilians killed by U.S. gunfire

November 28, 2007|By Los Angeles Times

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- A child was among at least five Iraqis killed when U.S. soldiers opened fire in two incidents in central Iraq during a span of 24 hours, while police said a suicide bomber posing as a shepherd killed as many as 13 people yesterday outside a police station in eastern Diyala province.

The shootings involved vehicles that the soldiers reportedly perceived as threatening. Three women and a man were killed while riding a mini-bus to work in the northeastern Baghdad neighborhood of Shaab, according to the Interior Ministry.

Abu Ahmed, a 45-year-old bank employee injured in the shooting, said he and his colleagues were riding the mini-bus from their homes to work in the morning, when the incident occurred.

A U.S. military spokesman said soldiers opened fire when the vehicle turned onto a road that had been closed to all traffic but cars and ignored a warning shot

The military said initial reports indicated that two Iraqis were killed and four wounded. The discrepancy between the death tolls cited by U.S. and Iraqi officials could not be immediately resolved.

Separately, U.S. soldiers shot at a car speeding through a roadblock north of Baghdad on Monday during an offensive against al-Qaida in Iraq. One child and two men were killed in the incident near Baiji, north of Baghdad, the military said in a statement.

The child was rushed to a miliary medical station, where he died, according to the statement.

"We regret that civilians are hurt or killed while coalition forces work diligently to rid this country of the terrorist networks that threaten the security of Iraq and our forces," U.S. Navy Cmdr. Ed Buclatin said.

In a separate incident, Iraq's Interior Ministry reported that U.S. soldiers opened fire yesterday evening near the Ibin Hayan bridge in Tobji in northwestern Baghdad, killing two civilians and wounding six others. However, the U.S. military gave no immediate confirmation of the incident.

The spate of shootings came after the U.S. and Iraqi governments signed a declaration of principles Monday committing them to reaching an agreement by the end of next year on America's long-term security role in Iraq, including the status of U.S. forces. Iraqis regularly complain of cases in which U.S. troops accidentally have killed civilians during their operations. However, the U.S. military says it has cut the number of incidents in recent months as violence has dropped in Baghdad.

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