Seven civilians killed in Iraq

Monday, May 26, 2008

Relations between U.S. forces, Iraqi police and Iraqi civilians were damaged recently by a helicopter airstrike that resulted in the deaths of 7 people. The identities of those killed are disputed, with US forces claiming 5 militants killed and 2 children, while Iraqi police report that all 7 killed were civilians. This is the latest in a series of increasing conflict between these three parties as US strikes continue to occur. Colonel Jerry O'Hara has stated that U.S. led forces "sincerely regrets the injury of any innocent civilians and condemns those terrorists who place civilians recklessly in harm's way."

Colonel Mudhir Qaisi, the police chief in Baiji, says that all seven killed were Sunni farmers traveling through the Mizari region. Fulaiyh Shimmari, a relative of a victim, reports that many family and friends were gathered for the release of a family remember from U.S custody. The American account of the event and its location differs from Shimmari's, who states that when U.S. forces were sighted, many people, including himself, began to flee in cars and on foot. He noted that, during the engagement, three of the seven people in the car were killed, including one child, and four others were shot as they fled on foot.

The American version is that U.S. forces fired warning shots, and when some of the occupants of the premises exhibited hostile intent, the Americans engaged in the fatal fire, resulting in the deaths of five militants. The methods used for this attack were not specified.