soldiers shot back at anti-American protesters, hitting at least
seven, including three young boys, after being fired on in a town
near Baghdad. A local hospital director said 13 people were killed.
took place on Monday night in the town of Fallujah, about 30 miles
west of the capital. Though residents reported 15 deaths, Col. Arnold
Bray of the 82nd Airborne Division said seven people in the crowd
But Dr Ahmed
Ghanim al-Ali, director of Fallujah General Hospital, said there
were 13 dead, including three boys under 11 years old. He said his
medical crews were shot at when they went to retrieve the injured,
which he said numbered 75.
the demonstration was conducted by children and students between
the ages of 5 and 20, but Bray said some were armed. "Ask them
which kind of schoolboys carry AK-47s," he said.
were headquartered in a schoolhouse, and some of the protesters fired
on the building, Bray said.
channel Al-Jazeera quoted residents as saying the troops opened fire
after someone threw a rock at the school. The demonstrators were
reportedly protesting against US troops presence in the city.
Muslim cleric, Kamal Shaker Mahmoud, said the demonstrators were
unarmed students who had gone to the school to ask the troops to
a peaceful demonstration. They did not have any weapons. They were
asking the Americans to leave the school so they could use it.
opened fire on the protesters because they went out to demonstrate."
US reacted angrily to suggestions that a Belgian lawyer might sue
its Commander in Chief in the Gulf Tommy Franks for war crimes such
as the looting of hospitals, firing on an ambulance, and the deaths
of Iraqi civilians.
The Bush administration
said there would be "diplomatic consequences" for Belgium
if it did not block the move.
spokesman Richard Boucher said: "We believe the Belgian government
needs to be diligent in taking steps to prevent abuse of the legal
system for political ends."