Thursday, July 12, 2007

Report: 429 Iraqis killed or wounded at checkpoints in past year

Above and Left: A paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division provides security as another directs traffic into an impromptu vehicle check point in Baghdad's Adhamiyah District on June 28.

U.S. soldiers have killed or wounded 429 Iraqi civilians at checkpoints or near patrols and convoys during the past year, according to military statistics compiled in Iraq and obtained by McClatchy.

The statistics are the first official accounting of civilian shootings since the war began, and although they seem small compared with the thousands who have died in Iraq's violence, they show the difficulty the United States has in fulfilling its vow to protect civilians...

They cover 3,200 incidents since July 2006 in which U.S. troops fired warning shots at Iraqi civilians. Such incidents led to injury or death 36 times a month on average -- more than once a day...

The statistics don't include instances of American soldiers killing civilians during raids, arrests or in the midst of battle with armed groups, and it remains unclear how the U.S. military tracks such information. Often-rotating units use their own systems, and there have been several incidents of soldiers not reporting the deaths of civilians, most notably the November 2005 shooting of 24 civilians in the northern Iraqi town of Haditha.

Read the rest at the Contra Costa Times