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Iraq demands official apology for US raid

29 April, 2009

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BAGHDAD: The Iraqi government has asked US commander in Iraq General Ray Odierno for an official apology for a US raid this week that killed a man and a woman, an official said on Tuesday.

“The prime minister sent a letter to the commander of the coalition forces in Iraq, condemning this act. He asked for an official apology and asked that such acts should not be repeated,” said Baghdad Security Spokesman Major General Qassim Moussawi.

The fallout from the raid, carried out on Sunday in the southern city of Kut, which Prime Minister Nuri-al-Maliki labelled a ‘crime’, posed the first major test to a US-Iraqi security pact that sets the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq by 2012.

Responsible: Maliki said those responsible for the raid should be sent to court — the first such demand since the pact took effect in January. Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said the cabinet had discussed on Tuesday the raid that led to the killing of two “innocent citizens”. US officials said the raid, targeting Iranian-backed Shia militants, had Iraqi approval. Six people were arrested in the nighttime operation but later released. They said the man killed was considered a threat because he was carrying a weapon and the woman moved into the line of fire.

Detained: After the incident, Iraq detained two military commanders for authorising the raid, the defence ministry said. The cabinet called for “compliance with the points of the US-Iraq security pact and for legal proceedings regarding those responsible.”

The Kut raid did not appear to meet the criteria for a court trial in Iraq. Moussawi declined to clarify whether the government believes the soldiers should be sent to an Iraqi court or face US military courts. “The conditions set out in the security pact determine what kind of court,” he said.

Families of the two people killed in the raid, a man and a woman, have said they were pressing charges. reuters

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