U.S. Troops Kill Iraqi Couple, Injure Daugher In Raid

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A couple was killed and their young daughter wounded during an American raid in the northern Iraqi town of Hawija on Saturday.

The U.S. military said the operation was conducted with and approved by Iraq's security forces, as stipulated by a security agreement that went into effect at the beginning of the year. But a senior Iraqi government spokesman said there were no Iraqi forces present and is calling for an investigation of the deaths.

"The Americans were on foot," said Hussein Ali, the father of the man who was killed. "They threw percussion hand grenades at the door, then they started shooting. When I got inside the house, the Americans were gone. I found [my son and daughter-in-law] in the bedroom, dead beside each other. They shot my son at close range. His blood was all over the wall."

His son, Dhia Hussein Ali, was a former colonel in Saddam Hussein's army. But his father says that after the U.S.-led invasion, Dhia Hussein Ali became a farmer. When the killings took place, he was asleep at home with his wife and five children, one of whom was injured.

The U.S. military says the slain man was targeted because it received information that he was a member of al-Qaida in Iraq.

"When coalition and Iraqi forces were clearing the building, they entered a room and saw a woman reaching under the mattress," the military said in a statement. "The force repeatedly gave instruction in Arabic for the woman to show her hands, but she failed to comply. Perceiving hostile intent, forces engaged the woman, killing her."

After American forces killed his wife, the statement said, the man attacked them. So troops killed him, too.

The military said only a pistol was found afterward, under the mattress where the couple was sleeping.

The military said the operation was "fully coordinated with Iraqi authorities who were also present for the operation."

But a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, Brig. Gen. Abdul Kareem Khalaf, said it was not a joint operation.

"We have asked for a full investigation, and we have asked for an explanation from the Americans regarding what happened," he said. "There were no Iraqi forces with them."

Under the security agreement that came into effect Jan. 1, American forces can conduct raids alone but only with Iraqi approval.

Khalaf said it was still being determined whether that approval had been granted.



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