Sunday, August 14, 2005

15 Dead after Military shooting in Iraq

Reuters) - An attack on a U.S. military patrol followed by U.S. gunfire left 15 Iraqis dead and 17 wounded in a town west of Baghdad, residents said on Saturday, but the U.S. military said it was not responsible.Residents of Nasaf, a town just outside the city of Ramadi, said a roadside bomb exploded next to a U.S. armoured patrol as it passed near the Ibn al-Jawzi mosque shortly after prayers on Friday.They said U.S. troops opened fire immediately after the explosion, shooting towards people emerging from the mosque.Munem Aftan, the director of Ramadi General Hospital, said 15 people were killed, including eight children, and 17 wounded.Pools of blood lay on the steps outside the mosque, and bullet holes marked its walls.

Iraqi civilians frequently complain that U.S. troops open fire wildly after they are attacked. The U.S. military says it does everything possible to avoid civilian casualties and is careful to respond to attacks in a measured fashion.Human rights groups have documented scores of cases in which civilians have been shot and killed after approaching U.S. military roadblocks too quickly, or not following instructions to keep away from U.S. military convoys as they pass

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