Wednesday, February 01, 2006

A familiar story

Canadians dispute details of Iraq shooting

U.S. officials didn't apologize Wednesday but said they're investigating a “regrettable” incident in which soldiers fired at a car carrying four Canadian diplomats in Baghdad.

Canadians are disputing a U.S. version of events, saying a military convoy fired at them without warning, with one bullet coming dangerously close. No one was injured.
“Our officials are clear that they were operating within the rules,” prime minister-designate Stephen Harper said in Ottawa. “Obviously, we'd like to make sure we deal with this and avoid such a situation in the future.”
...
U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said he didn't know the details of the event Tuesday involving two convoys in the city's heavily fortified Green Zone.

But a military spokesman in Iraq said Wednesday the U.S. convoy “felt threatened” by a potential suicide-bomb attack after the Canadian vehicle came too close and ignored hand and arm signals to stay back.

“They felt they had to use warning shots,” said U.S. Lt.-Col. Barry Johnson, spokesman for the multinational force in Baghdad.

“Clearly, these warning shots weren't aimed at the occupants.”

A U.S. military statement said the shots were aimed “at the front of the vehicle, away from the passenger area.”

But one unnamed Canadian diplomat riding in the vehicle told CBC News a bullet entered the passenger compartment. She said the vehicle had kept a safe distance from the convoy and no one remembers any warnings from U.S. soldiers before there was a sudden explosion.



Congratulations on your big win last week, Mr. Harper. But you might want to give Mr. Blair and Mr. Berlusconi a call before you follow through on that pledge to strengthen ties with Washington.

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