Accessibility links

Breaking News

Iraq: U.S. Says Soldiers Fired On First In Incident

Fallujah, Iraq; 29 April 2003 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. military officials say U.S. forces were fired on first by Iraqis during an incident yesterday in which 13 Iraqis were reportedly killed west of Baghdad. Reports quote witnesses saying at least another 45 Iraqis were wounded when U.S. troops fired on Iraqi demonstrators in Fallujah. The witnesses say U.S. troops opened fire on unarmed demonstrators when they approached a school occupied by U.S. troops.

U.S. Central Command spokeswoman Lieutenant Yvonne Lukson said today the U.S. soldiers returned fire at a group of unidentified Iraqis. She said she had no information on casualties or whether the troops had encountered a demonstration.

In Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin said international sanctions against Iraq should not be lifted until it is clear the country has no weapons of mass destruction. He also said the United Nations should play a key role in post-war Iraq. "After the end of the war [in Iraq], the UN's central role should be not only restored but reinforced," Putin said.

Also, a spokesman for the Iraqi National Congress (INC) said Walid Hamid Tawfiq al-Tikriti, the governor of Basra Province under Saddam Hussein, surrendered today to INC officials and U.S. forces in Baghdad.

A spokesman for the U.S. Central Command in Qatar said the U.S. military is looking into the INC claim that Tawfiq has surrendered, but did not confirm that he is in custody.