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News ::
Support Our Oops! (english)
12 Sep 2003
Eight Iraqi police mistakenly killed in shootout with American forces
Eight Iraqi police mistakenly killed in shootout with American forces
By Patrick Quinn, Associated Press, 9/12/2003 08:09

FALLUJAH, Iraq (AP) Eight Fallujah policemen were killed and five other people were wounded, apparently by mistake, in a shootout with American forces early Friday, a doctor said. In a nearby town, two U.S. soldiers were killed and seven wounded in a firefight during a raid, the U.S. military said.

In the Fallujah shooting, 25 policemen in three vehicles, two pickup trucks and a sedan, were chasing a white BMW known to have been used by highway bandits.

As the chase neared the Jordanian Hospital on the west side of Fallujah, 30 miles west of Baghdad, the police turned around and an American Humvee opened fire, said Asem Mohammed, 23, a police sergeant who was among the injured.

''We were chasing a white BMW with bandits. We turned around in front of Jordanian Hospital and some American forces started shooting at us,'' he said.

Dr. Dial Jumaili, who practices at the Jordanian Hospital, said there were eight dead policemen when he came out to treat the victims. He said two were in serious condition and taken to the Fallujah Hospital. Five other people were injured in the shooting, including a guard at the Jordanian Hospital.

The U.S. military has provided no information on the incident.

In the separate firefight in Ramadi, 30 miles west of Fallujah, two American soldiers were killed and seven wounded in a firefight that broke out during a raid early Friday, the military said.

No other details were given.

In the Fallujah Hospital, where the injured were taken in the mistaken shootout between police and American forces, policeman Arkan Adnan Ahmed said the shooting lasted about 45 minutes. He was shot in the shoulder.

He said the sudden appearance of one of the police vehicles, an unmarked pickup truck with a machine gun mounted on top, may have prompted the Americans to begin firing. ''We shouted 'we are police. We are police.' Then we drove off the road into a field.''

The Fallujah Gov. Taha Badawi ordered the bodies taken to Ramadi for autopsies before they were returned to the families.

There were other unconfirmed reports of violence in the region Friday after a message carrying the name of Saddam Hussein appeared on at least one building in Fallujah. The message praised the people of the city for their resistance to the American occupation and named it capital of al-Anbar province. The nearby city of Ramadi is the capital of the Sunni dominated al-Anbar province.

Thursday afternoon, attackers fired rocket-propelled grenades at a U.S. military convoy about 18 miles west of Fallujah, touching off an intense firefight that left at least one American soldier wounded, the military said.

Tanks and other vehicles from the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment came under attack, the military said.

Other ''U.S. forces responding to the scene came under fire and returned fire at houses nearby,'' U.S. Army Capt. Jeff Fitzgibbons said.

There was no information regarding casualties among attackers. Two U.S. military trucks were also destroyed during the fighting along Highway 10, he said.

The Fallujah region has been one of the most dangerous for U.S. soldiers. Support for Saddam runs strongest in the region.

Associated Press Television News pictures showed a burning tank transport truck, a burning 5-ton truck and at least one burning Humvee. Earlier Thursday, three U.S. soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division were injured when guerrillas fired rocket-propelled grenades and shot small arms at a military convoy in Mosul, northern Iraq, the military said.

In Baghdad, Abdel-Aziz al-Hakim, a key member of the U.S.-appointed Governing Council and a top Shiite Muslim cleric, told a news conference Friday that the car bombing that killed his brother and at least 85 other people in Najaf last month was a ''terrorist operation'' and would not be the last such attack.

Al-Hakim, who took over leadership of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq after his brother's assassination Aug. 29, said the attack was part of a ''diabolical and cunning conspiracy'' to target Iraqi infrastructure, assassinate other senior clerics and desecrate holy Muslim shrines.

At the news conference held at a Supreme Council building in central Baghdad, al-Hakim also issued a blunt warning to Arab satellite broadcasters like Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya against ''playing a role that tears the nation apart and supports terrorist groups.''

Al-Hakim refused to give a direct answer when asked about disarming the Badr Brigade, which his slain brother founded during exile in Iraq as the armed wing of the Supreme Council. It was ordered disarmed and disbanded on American orders after the fall of the Saddam regime, but members have subsequently been patrolling the streets in the area of the Imam Ali shrine in Najaf since the bombing there two weeks ago.

The top U.S. commander in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, said on Thursday that such militias are illegal. Al-Hakim said the continued armed presence of the men was under discussion with American authorities.

''The Badr Brigade should have a very active role in achieving security, and we are discussing this issue with the coalition authorities. We do not want militia formations in Iraq, but under the current critical situation, urgent measures should be taken. But, we try to work in a way to avoid clashes with the coalition forces.''

''We do not foresee any benefit that could be gained from engaging in an armed conflict with the occupation forces. We believe in the necessity of adopting other means to achieve independence.''
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