U.S. forces "mistook" Iraqi civilians for rebels
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U.S. forces "mistook" Iraqi civilians for rebels

AFP | August 16, 2005

U.S. soldiers opened fire on a group of Iraqi workers after they mistook them for rebels

U.S. soldiers wounded 26 Iraqis when they opened fire on a group of workers after they mistook them for rebels, AFP reported, citing an Interior Ministry official.

The source said U.S. soldiers fired on the workers in the Alawi district in central Baghdad.

Earlier, a Defense Ministry official reported that U.S. forces exchanged fire with suspected fighters in the area.

But AFP interviewed a number of casualties at Baghdad's Al-Yarmouk Hospital who said that a U.S. helicopter fired at them as they were standing outside a hotel.

“The electricity went out at around 0500 (0100 GMT), so we exited the hotel to the street to have breakfast in the fresh air. A helicopter then opened fire into the street,” said Ali Mohammad, who suffered neck and leg injuries.

Makki Hassan, a 50-year-old resident, said that several people sleeping on the roofs of their houses were also hit by U.S. gunfire.

The U.S. army said that it has no information on the incident.

In a separate development, a new survey found that the American public isn’t satisfied with the U.S. handling of Iraq.

The poll, to be published in next month's edition of Foreign Affairs, the journal of the Council on Foreign Relations, showed that almost six in 10 U.S. citizens were worried over the outcome of Iraq war.

Asked whether the U.S. was achieving its goals in Iraq, 56 percent in the survey disapproved while 39 percent said it was.

"Soon the grumbling may become too loud for the Bush
administration to ignore," wrote Daniel Yankelovich, who leads Public Agenda, a non-profit research organization that conducted the poll for the council.

The Bush administration claims that Iraq is on its way to establishing a democracy that would end violence, but recent polls showed that Bush's credibility on Iraq has been declining among the U.S. public due to deteriorating security conditions and rising U.S. casualties.

In another development, Iraqi legislators failed to meet a deadline to agree on the country's new constitution.

Iraq's parliament agreed today to extend the deadline until August 22 to allow the political parties to reach agreement.

Meanwhile, gunmen attacked a civil defense center in Baghdad's eastern Canal district, killing two Iraqi policemen and wounding four others, the Interior Ministry said.

And In Baqouba, 60 km north of Baghdad, an Iraqi reporter was killed and three others were wounded when their car hit a roadside bomb south of the city.

In other violence, rebels killed a Canadian-Iraqi man who was taken hostage two weeks ago.

Zaid Meerwali, 33, returned to Iraq a year ago to start a new business. Officials said he was killed on Sunday by a gunshot to the head.

His brother, Ramzi Meerwali, told CTV News Toronto that his brothers' captors called his family twice demanding a $250,000 ransom. He said the family managed to get the money, but the abductors stopped phoning.

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