US troops today fired into a crowd of thousands of people in the city of Fallujah, killing three people. Two more are in critical condition.
The people were marching to protest an even deadlier shooting on Monday in which 15 people were killed.
The Associated Press is reporting the protesters stopped in front of the US Army’s 82nd Airborne Division headquarters. They held signs condemning Monday’s shooting and began to throw stones and shoes at the compound. Then the US troops opened fire.
Safa Rusli told the Agence France Presse: “This was a peaceful demonstration. Religious leaders told us not to be armed. There was no exchange of fire.”
US Intelligence Officer Maj. Michael Marti claimed US troops were returning fire.
Muslim religious leaders told the AFP today they met with US forces after the killings today and asked US forces to pull back from the city.
The city’s top religious leader, Sheikh Waga Ali al-Mohammadi said: “Fallujah is known as a center of Islam. We care about religion, we care about our honour and our land. We told them things will get worse and worse.”
An imam who also attended the meeting said they have opted for diplomatic means up to now, but it will be difficult to contain the people for long.
We go to Fallujah to speak with AFP reporter Sophie Claudet as she covers the funeral of two Iraqis who were killed by U.S. forces.