U.S. troops accused of wounding Iraqis

An Iraqi provincial governor accused U.S. troops of opening fire on civilian cars south of Baghdad on Sunday, wounding six people, and threatened to suspend ties with U.S. officials over the “brutal” attack.A U.S. military spokesman said no information was immediately available when contacted about the incident.

Ahmed Marzok, governor of the southern Shi’ite province of Muthanna, said six people were wounded, including two policemen, in the attack near al-Rumaitha, north of the provincial capital of Samawa, 270 km (170 miles) south of Baghdad.

A source in al-Rumaitha hospital put the number of wounded at five and said a woman was among them.

A minibus driver said two of his passengers were wounded when soldiers in a military convoy opened fire.

“We were driving on one side of the road and when they came we pulled aside, but they opened fire,” the driver, who did not give his name, told Reuters.

Marzok described the attack as “barbaric, brutal and illegal” and quickly called a meeting of provincial officials, where he demanded a full investigation of the incident by the Iraqi government.

He also called for Muthanna officials to suspend work with multi-national forces in the province, including military engineers and a U.S. provincial reconstruction team.

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

Last week, the U.S. military said its forces had killed 25 suspected militants in an attack targeting al Qaeda fighters in Taji, north of Baghdad.

But the head of a Sunni Arab tribal group working with the U.S. military said 45 of his men had been killed by U.S. military aircraft as they manned checkpoints.

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