U.S. expresses regret over deaths of 3 Iraqis
The U.S. military acknowledged Sunday that American soldiers killed three "law-abiding" Iraqi civilians last month as the Iraqis traveled...
BAGHDAD — The U.S. military acknowledged Sunday that American soldiers killed three "law-abiding" Iraqi civilians last month as the Iraqis traveled to their jobs at the Baghdad airport. The military initially had said the soldiers acted in self-defense after being fired upon by "criminals."
In fact, no weapons were found in the civilians' car, the military said.
The statement, released late Sunday, expressed regret over the civilians' deaths June 25 but said: "Neither the soldiers nor civilians involved in the incident were at fault."
The Army said its soldiers had felt threatened when they saw a car speeding up a road toward them but that the car did not heed warnings to stop.
The attack infuriated Iraqi officials and even prompted the Iraqi armed-forces general command to call the shooting a coldblooded murder.
It also bolstered calls from Iraqi politicians to pressure the American military to leave Iraq after this year, when a U.N. mandate expires, unless the United States agrees to permit its soldiers to be subject to criminal prosecution under Iraqi law for attacks on civilians.
The family of Hafeidh Aboud, one of the three civilians killed on their way to the airport last month, said late Sunday night that the U.S. soldiers responsible should be prosecuted either in the United States or in Iraq.
"Why did they do this to us? My father liked the Americans very much," said Mohammed Hafeidh Aboud, 21, one of Hafeidh Aboud's seven children. "The American soldiers are guilty. Why did they do this? Why?"
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company