World News

U.S. soldiers shoot 4 Iraqi civilians, one killed

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - U.S. soldiers mistakenly shot four Iraqi civilians, killing one, during operations against al Qaeda militants, the U.S. military said on Tuesday.

U.S. soldiers had detained a suspected al Qaeda fighter in Tarmiya, 30 km (20 miles) north of Baghdad, on Monday when they were approached by a car that did not obey an order to stop.

The car continued moving towards the soldiers despite two sets of warning shots. U.S. soldiers then fired on the car, hitting the four people inside. One of the passengers died while being taken to a military hospital for treatment.

“We regret when Iraqis are hurt or killed while coalition forces work diligently to rid this country of terrorist networks that threaten the security of Iraq and our forces,” U.S. military spokesman Major Anton Alston said in a statement.

U.S. troops killed five Iraqi civilians, including a child, in two similar shootings last week, the military has said.

Iraqis have often been angered by what they describe as the heavy-handed use of force by U.S. troops since the 2003 invasion to topple Saddam Hussein, especially in air strikes and by troops traveling in convoys of Humvee military vehicles.

Reporting by Paul Tait, editing by Tim Pearce