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Iraq: US troops again fire on crowd

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  • ummyakoub
    US troops again fire on crowd, four killed: Iraqis demand real freedom MOSUL, April 16: At least four people were killed and several others wounded on
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 17, 2003
      US troops again fire on crowd, four killed: Iraqis demand real freedom

      MOSUL, April 16: At least four people were killed and several others
      wounded on Wednesday by gunshots near the governorate buildings in the
      northern Iraqi city of Mosul , the second such incident here in two
      days, a hospital official and witnesses said.

      Several witnesses told AFP US troops fired on a crowd from the
      rooftops of the buildings, but that was denied by a US marine officer
      here. However US forces admitted partial responsibility for Tuesday's
      incidents after initially denying it.

      Brigadier General Vincent Brooks at US Central Command's war base in
      Qatar said on Wednesday that the previous day "fire was indeed
      delivered from coalition forces; it was lethal fire, and some Iraqis
      were killed as a result. We think the number is in the order of seven
      and we think there were some wounded as well."

      Hospital sources for their part put the death toll at 15 with 28
      wounded, from an earlier figure of 12 killed and 60 wounded.

      On Wednesday, an AFP journalist saw two bodies arrive at Al-Zahrawi
      hospital, where a doctor said eight people were also wounded. "Four
      bodies have just been brought in," Dr Riyadh Hamdi said.

      Witnesses told AFP US troops stationed on top of the government
      buildings had opened fire.

      In response, Captain James Jarvis told AFP "there was no firing on the
      crowd today." Someone "started shooting on our marines; we
      subsequently returned fire. We were engaged by two roof-top locations.
      We were fired upon and took well aimed fire". He added that three
      local policemen were wounded in the shooting.

      In Baghdad scores of Iraqi Shia shouted their rejection of the US
      military presence in front of American marines deployed around
      Baghdad's Palestine Hotel on Wednesday.

      "Down with America," chanted the 200-odd protesters led by religious
      leaders. "We want real freedom" and "The Iraqi people themselves must
      choose their rulers," read two of the banners raised by the protesters.

      Marines kept reporters at bay.

      The protesters had their backs to Al-Fardus Square where a giant
      statue of former president Saddam Hussein was toppled after US forces
      seized Baghdad a week ago, symbolizing the end of the Iraqi leader's
      24-year rule.

      In a separate incident on Wednesday, an Iraqi police officer said his
      men had intervened in a bank raid when the Americans started shooting.

      "A police patrol went to the bank to arrest the robbers. They fired a
      shot into the air and then the Americans, with the peshmergas (Kurdish
      fighters), fired on the civilians and the robbers," said Farsy Hasham,
      who arrived on the scene shortly after the incident.

      Three policemen were injured, the officer in charge said. One of them,
      21-year-old Mohammed Azad, said "the police fired in the air to scare
      the robbers, later there were shots fired blindly at us from the
      governorate building," where the US troops were posted.

      Another eyewitness, a civil servant who was driving police in his own
      car at the time, said: "The police knew there were robbers inside the
      bank. When they went in they arrested one robber but the other two got
      away. "Outside, a crowd gathered to see what was happening and
      followed the police who were taking the robber towards the governorate.

      "The Americans saw the crowd and started firing blind. I saw them with
      my own eyes. There were inside the building and on the roof. They did
      not let us take the injured," said Makhmud Ahmed, 31.

      He said the bank was 500 metres from the local government building and
      the crowd was 100 metres away.

      Yunes Yassin, a 28-year-old workman, interviewed separately, told a
      similar story of how the American troops opened fire, apparently
      thinking they were coming under attack. "The police learned there was
      a bank robbery in progress and sent a patrol.

      "Three cars arrived on the scene and the policemen entered the bank. A
      crowd had gathered in the square outside to watch when the shooting
      started, coming from the government building. I saw an American on the
      roof firing a machine gun."

      Omar Hassan, a 39-year-old civil servant, also said the shots came
      "from the roof of the government building where the Americans were".

      Captain Jarvis said only: "We didn't return fire with regard to the
      bank robbery."

      A US marine officer denied charges that his troops opened fire on
      Wednesday on a crowd of people in this northern Iraqi city in an
      incident that a hospital official and witnesses say claimed four
      lives. He also denied US involvement in a second incident on
      Wednesday, involving an abortive bank robbery.-AFP




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