Saturday, August 09, 2003

American troops killed at least two Iraqis in Tikrit, and wounded two others. The victims were apparently arms dealers. After hearing that arms were sold in a market every Friday, the Americans posted snipers there. From VOA News:

"Lieutenant Colonel Steve Russell . . . says the U.S. military has made clear to Iraqis that when they buy and carry weapons, they become combatants, and the troops may attack them. So when four men began unloading weapons and what appeared to be bombmaking equipment, U.S. soldiers opened fire."

He also said:

"They began to pull additional weapons out of the trunk and they became combatants at this point."

Lieutenant Colonel Bill MacDonald of the 4th Infantry Division said:

"Soldiers of 4th ID sent out an observation patrol to monitor a location where suspected former regime loyalists were trafficking illegal arms. At 7:30 am (0330 GMT), a team observed four men illegally trafficking weapons. The team engaged the four men, two were wounded, two were killed."

An Iraqi doctor claims that actually five Iraqi men and a child were killed. This was essentially an extrajudicial execution by sniper fire for the crime of selling weapons. There is no indication that the Americans were in any danger, and in fact had positioned themselves to be able to take good shots at the marketplace. More winning of hearts and minds . . . .