US soldiers shot Iraqi man for throwing 'shoe'

An Iraqi man was in critical condition on Thursday after US soldiers shot him for throwing 'shoe', witnesses said.

US soldiers shot Iraqi man for throwing 'shoe'

An Iraqi man was in critical condition on Thursday after US soldiers shot him for throwing 'shoe', witnesses said.

U.S. Marines shot and wounded the man on Wednesday as they conducted a patrol with Iraqi forces in Falluja, a city in western Anbar province, the military said in a statement.

Lieutenant Rachel Beatty, a U.S. spokeswoman in western Iraq, explained the shotting as saying the Marines who saw the "object" thrown at the vehicle identified it as a "grenade."

However, Jassim Mohammed, who witnessed the event, said he saw the man throw his shoe at the U.S. patrol in Falluja.

"Immediately a U.S. soldier in one of the Humvees pointed his gun towards him and shot," he said.

Throwing shoes, an insult in the Middle East, became a symbol of opposition to the U.S. invasion after an Iraqi TV reporter hurled his footwear at then U.S. President George W. Bush in December last year.

Ahmed Mohammed, a doctor at a hospital in Falluja, said the man in Falluja, a 32-year-old mechanic named Ahmed Latif, had been shot in the chest. He was operated on Thursday evening and remained in critical condition.

Uday Latif, the victim's brother, said he believed his brother had thrown a sandal. Ahmed Abdul Razzaq, a policeman in Falluja, said the man had been suffering from psychological problems related to US attacks in Falluja since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. U.S. forces launched two offensives in 2004 in Falluja and bombed the city extensively.

"He hates the U.S. military and becomes hysterical whenever he sees U.S. patrols. But he doesn't know how to use a gun and never thought even for a minute to use one," he said, adding that Latif did not suffer psychological problems before 2004.

Uday Latif said his brother had been detained in 2007 by U.S. forces for two weeks.

American forces are due to end offensives in August 2010 and withdraw entirely by 2012.

Under a bilateral pact that took effect last year, U.S. combat troops withdrew from urban bases in June and are only allowed to conduct combat patrols in the cities alongside Iraqi forces.



Reuters

Last Mod: 18 Eylül 2009, 16:30
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