US Marines 'Kill Seven Iraqis After Truck Fails to Stop'
Saturday 05 April 2003
Seven civilians, including three children, were killed by US Marines last night after they opened fire on a truck that refused to stop at a checkpoint south of Baghdad, an American television network reported.
The alleged incident was reported by an ABC News correspondent travelling with a marine unit early this morning.
The civilian Iraqis were in vehicles behind a military truck that refused to stop and tried to crash through the marines' roadblock. Pentagon officials said they had no immediate details of the incident.
ABC reported that shots were fired first at a car that went through the checkpoint. A military truck that was following it was then fired upon and two civilian vehicles, apparently caught behind the truck, were shot at, leading to the deaths.
The incident appeared similar to what happened near Karbala on Monday when US Army troops opened fire on a four-wheel-drive vehicle which also drove through an Allied checkpoint. At least seven Iraqi women and children were killed.
A Washington Post reporter with that unit claimed that a captain had blamed troops for not firing a warning shot soon enough. The captain had roared at his platoon leader: "You just ... killed a family because you didn't fire a warning shot soon enough!"
US Central Command this week backed the troops involved in that incident for their actions, although it appeared less likely that it had been a suicide attack. The Central Command spokesman Brigadier General Vince Brooks said that money would probably be given to relatives of those victims as an expression of regret on behalf of the Allies.
The incident this morning appeared more deliberate.
US troops have been on edge since the driver of a taxi detonated a car bomb in a suicide attack that killed four soldiers last week.
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