US shot or killed 429 Iraqi civilians in the last year -- not even on raids
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US soldiers in Iraq killed or wounded 429 Iraqi civilians at checkpoints or near patrols just in the last year -- according to military statistics leaked to a McClatchy Newspaper reporter.
"The numbers cover what the military calls escalation-of-force incidents, in which American troops fire at civilians who've come too close or have approached checkpoints too quickly," writes Nancy A. Youssef for McClatchy. "In the months since U.S. commanders have dispatched more troops to the field— ostensibly to secure Iraqi communities— the number of Iraqis killed and injured in such incidents has spiked, the statistics show."
"The escalation-of-force statistics, however, were part of a recent briefing given to Army Gen. David Petraeus , the commander of coalition forces in Iraq, she continues. "They cover 3,200 incidents since July 2006 in which U.S. troops fired warning shots at Iraqi civilians. Such incidents led to injury or death 36 times a month on average— more than once a day.
"Last August, for example, 26 Iraqi civilians were killed or injured in such incidents. The number rose to 41 the following month, as the U.S. began moving troops into some of Baghdad's most troubled neighborhoods as part of Operation Forward Together, last year's Baghdad security plan.
"The statistics don't include instances of American soldiers killing civilians during raids, arrests or in the midst of battle with armed groups, and it remains unclear how the U.S. military tracks such information. Often rotating units use their own systems, and there have been several incidents of soldiers not reporting the deaths of civilians, most notably the November 2005 shooting of 24 civilians in the northern Iraqi town of Haditha.
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