26 Iraqi Workers Wounded as US Troops Mistake Them for Rebels
Published on Tuesday, August 16, 2005 by the Agence France Presse
26 Iraqi Workers Wounded as US Troops Mistake Them for Rebels
BAGHDAD - A group of Iraqi workers in Baghdad came under fire from US troops who mistook them for insurgents.

An interior ministry source said US troops fired on a crowd of workers in the central Baghdad neighbourhood of Alawi, while a defence ministry source reported an exchange of fire between suspected rebels and US forces in the area.

But a number of casualties lying in Al-Yarmouk hospital told AFP that a US helicopter fired at them as they were gathered 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 sustained neck and leg injuries.

Makki Hassan, a 50-year-old resident of the neighbourhood, said that a number of people sleeping on the roofs of their houses were also struck by gunfire.

The US military, contacted by AFP, had no immediate information on the incident.

Also in Baghdad, two Iraqi policemen were killed and four others injured when gunmen fired on a civil defence centre in the eastern Canal district, the interior ministry source said.

In other violence Tuesday, an Iraqi working for a local news organisation was killed and his three colleagues wounded when their car hit a roadside bomb south of Baquba, 60 kilometres (37 miles) north of Baghdad.

Meanwhile, the office of former prime minister Iyad Allawi accused members of the Iraqi National Guard of assaulting his private guards late Monday, wounding two of them.

"Such attacks backed by the current Iraqi government ... increase (the Iraqi people's) lack of confidence in the leadership of the current government," said a statement issued by Allawi's office.

Allawi's office told AFP the attack took place in Al-Zaytoon Street, where the office of the ex-premier is located, but declined to give further details.

© 2005 Agence France Presse