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FALLUJAH, Iraq (April 29) - U.S. troops shot dead at least 13 Iraqis during an anti-American protest in the town of Fallujah overnight, witnesses said on Tuesday, in bloodshed sure to inflame anger at the U.S. presence in Iraq.

Witnesses in the town 30 miles west of Baghdad told Reuters the troops opened fire on unarmed demonstrators, but U.S. officers said their men returned fire after being shot at first.

Fallujah hospital director Ahmed Ghanim al-Ali said 13 people had been killed and at least 75 wounded. Some local people gave higher estimates, saying the protesters had been demanding that troops vacate a school in the town.

But U.S. Lt. Christopher Hart said a crowd of 100 to 200 chanting people approached his men, who opened fire after two gunmen with combat rifles appeared from behind the crowd on a motorcycle and started shooting.

Some people in the crowd then also fired at the troops, he said. He put the death toll at between seven and 10.

U.S. officers seeking to restore order in the volatile aftermath of Saddam's fall said 3,000 to 4,000 extra troops and military police would pour into Baghdad within the next 10 days to boost security in the capital.

Maj. Gen. Glenn Webster, deputy commander of U.S. land forces in Iraq, said the decision to bring in reinforcements was not related to any specific incident but the announcement followed a series of setbacks to U.S. efforts to win popular Iraqi support.

With Saddam Hussein removed from power, the United States said it was pulling nearly all of its military forces out of neighboring Saudi Arabia in a major realignment of its presence in the Gulf.

The shooting in Fallujah, and a clash between U.S. forces and Iraqi fighters in the northern city of Mosul on Monday in which six Iraqis were killed, punctured some of the optimism generated by a mass meeting convened by the United States in Baghdad to kick-start the transition to democracy.

FALLUJAH BURIES ITS DEAD

''Our soul and our blood we will sacrifice to you martyrs,'' mourners in Fallujah chanted as they buried some of the dead at a cemetery while U.S. helicopters flew overhead.

''It was a peaceful demonstration. They did not have any weapons,'' said local Sunni Muslim cleric, Kamal Shaker Mahmoud. ''They were asking the Americans to leave the school so they could use it.''

The shooting followed a firefight in Mosul in which U.S. forces said they killed six suspected paramilitaries loyal to Saddam, whose 66th birthday was on Monday.

In the heaviest fighting in the country for days, U.S. units opened fire with heavy machine-guns and lit up the night sky with red flares before calling in helicopter gunships.

Reut08:14 04-29-03
 

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Umpire said:
FALLUJAH, Iraq (April 29) -
''Our soul and our blood we will sacrifice to you martyrs,'' mourners in Fallujah chanted as they buried some of the dead at a cemetery while U.S. helicopters flew overhead.

''It was a peaceful demonstration. They did not have any weapons,'' said local Sunni Muslim cleric, Kamal Shaker Mahmoud. ''They were asking the Americans to leave the school so they could use it.''
thanks for the read umpire...

"our soul and our blood we will sacrifice to you martyrs"...right, and we're supposed to believe that these are just regular old peaceful demonstrators out on an afternoon jaunt. peaceful demonstrators don't talk martyrdom and the sacrifice of souls and blood. also, if the sunni cleric is to be believed, and they didn't have weapons, who the hell were the guys shooting back?

peaceful demonstration...how easy would it be for the sunni clerics to consult with the troops about their need for the use of a building? how easy would it be to come and reason together? nope! they've got to always have some kind of demonstration where they're chanting their little death threats and whatnot...idiots!
 

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There is not much that can be done about that. There will be hit-and-run guerillas, shooting from behind of civilians backs and provoking Americans to inflict civilian casualties. That was expected. And for as long as those guerillas will be supported and hidden by civilians, civilians will be getting killed. And it's not American's fault. Russians had the same problem in Chechnya. Serbs had the same problem in Kosovo. You support guerillas, then you run a risk of getting a bullet. And that's fair.
 
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