Four children shot dead in Iraq: witnesses

April 26, 2004 | Reuters/AFP

Four schoolchildren have been killed by gunfire in Baghdad, shortly after a roadside bomb ripped through a US military vehicle, witnesses said.

Some witnesses said the children, all aged around 12, were shot dead by US troops who had opened fire randomly after the blast on Canal Street in eastern Baghdad. At least five other people were wounded.

The children had left their nearby school to look at the burning Humvee, the witnesses said.

Children and some passersby were “celebrating” the attack near the vehicle when the deadly shots were fired.

The US military had no immediate word on the incident.

“I saw a child lying on the street with a bullet hole in his neck and another in his side,” said a driver who witnessed the incident.

“He had his schoolbag on his back. Some 15 minutes later his relatives came and took his body away.”

A nearby hospital confirmed receiving the bodies of four children with gunshot wounds.

The targeted Humvee was part of a military convoy driving through the street.

Two soldiers in the Humvee were evacuated from the scene by military medics, they said.

Meanwhile, Katyusha rockets have hit a hospital, a hotel and a police facility in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, killing two hospital and two hotel workers and wounding 13 people, police said.

They said a rocket slammed into the Salam (Peace) Hospital in the town, 390 kilometres north of Baghdad, killing two women staff and wounding 10 other people.

Less than an hour later, a second rocket hit Ashour Hotel in the city centre, causing extensive damage and wounding three people.

Two of the wounded, both hotel workers, died shortly afterwards in hospital.

A third rocket struck a police vehicle maintenance department next to police headquarters in southern Mosul’s Wadi Hajar district, wounding two policemen.

US troops later shot at three gunmen in a car who fired at a patrol in the city, killing one of the attackers, while the other two fled, police at the scene said.

American troops found two assault rifles and a grenade launcher in their car, witnesses said.

A roadside bomb has killed one US soldier and wounded others in Baghdad, a US spokesman said.

Brigadier-General Mark Kimmitt told a news conference that the bomb disabled a Humvee military car in a Baghdad street. He gave no figures on wounded soldiers.

Iraqi witnesses said US forces on the scene had opened fire indiscriminately after the attack, killing four people and wounding at least eight.
Oil halt

And the bulk of Iraq’s oil exports will be halted for at least two days following attempted boat attacks on the country’s main southern offshore terminal.

Exports from the main Al-Basra Oil Terminal were stopped because of a power cut and it would take “at least two days” to resume, Dominic d’Angelo, spokesman for the coalition in Basra, said.

He said about 1.6 million barrels per day are loaded through this terminal, which based on figures provided by the oil ministry would represent the bulk of Iraq’s daily oil exports of 1.9 million bpd.

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