| An American security officer (left) and an Iraqi policeman take cover during a shootout near a hotel in Baghdad. (AP)
Falluja, Sept. 12 (Reuters): American troops killed eight US-trained Iraqi guards and a Jordanian today after mistaking the Iraqis for rebels in the heartland of resistance to the American-led occupation, witnesses said.
Elsewhere in the rebellious “Sunni Triangle”, where deposed dictator Saddam Hussein may be hiding, two US soldiers died, seven were wounded, and three Iraqis were reported killed in a botched raid in the town of Ramadi.
President George W. Bush kept up pressure on the international community to back up its 130,000-strong contingent in Iraq, saying free nations cannot be neutral in the “fight between civilisation and chaos”.
In a speech to returning American soldiers, Bush added: “Terrorists in Iraq have attacked representatives of the civilised world, and opposing them and defeating them must be the cause of the civilised world.”
UN Security Council foreign ministers from veto-holding countries France, Britain, Russia, China and the US, are due to meet in Geneva tomorrow to discuss a US-drafted resolution to get more international troops and money into Iraq.
In the Iraqi town of Falluja, police officer Assem Mohammed said a joint force of the local police and the US-backed security force were chasing thieves in a car shortly after midnight when US soldiers opened fire.
“They continued firing for about an hour despite our pleas for them to stop and to tell them we are police and security,” Mohammed, who was wounded in the incident, said from his hospital bed in Falluja, 50 km west of Baghdad.
Nearly 24 hours later, US military authorities still had no official comment on what had happened.
They did say US forces had come under a rocket-propelled grenade attack in the area and one American soldier was wounded. Other police officers confirmed Mohammed’s report and put the toll at eight dead guards and three suspected bandits. At least six police and guards were also wounded.
The Jordanian military hospital in the area was badly damaged in the firing, its side peppered by bullets and shells. Spent bullet casings littered the road nearby, next to dried pools of blood.
An official at the hospital, set up in April to provide medical services to the Iraqi people, confirmed a Jordanian guard died of wounds he received in the incident.
The Falluja Protection Force was set up by the US military with volunteers to help Iraqi police control the unruly town.
In the Ramadi incident, two US soldiers were killed and seven wounded when an American force raided a house in the town, 100 km west of Baghdad.