US troops shot and killed at least 7 Iraqi civilians yesterday, including women and young children, at an intersection near Karbala.
Officers from the Army’s 3rd infantry division say a van packed with 15 civilians approached the intersection. The Washington Post reports Captain Ronny Johnson repeatedly ordered his troops to fire warning shots. When they failed to take action, he yelled at them to stop the van. The troops responded by firing several high explosive rounds into the passenger cabin of the van. According to the Washington Post, ten innocent people, including women and five children who appeared to be under 5 years old, were killed on the spot.
26-year-old Army medic Sgt. Mario Manzano said: "It was the most horrible thing I’ve ever seen, and I hope I never see it again." He said one of the wounded women sat in the vehicle holding the mangled bodies of two of her children. He said she didn’t want to get out of the car.
Hours later, US Marines killed another Iraqi civilian at another roadblock.
The Pentagon issued a statement contradicting the Post’s account. The Pentagon claims troops fired on the van after the driver ignored shouted orders and warning shots. And the Pentagon says seven people were killed (not ten).
- May Ying Welsh, independent journalist in Baghdad.