- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 9, 2005

BAGHDAD — U.S. troops opened fire near a checkpoint after their convoy was hit by a roadside bomb, and a hospital official said yesterday at least eight persons were killed in the second mistaken American attack in two days.

South of Baghdad, seven Ukrainian soldiers and one from Kazakhstan were killed in an apparently accidental explosion at an ammunition dump.

U.S. officials said they had no information about the shooting at the checkpoint, which occurred overnight Saturday. Interior Ministry spokesman Col. Adnan Abdul-Rahman said a U.S. convoy was hit by a roadside bomb near a police checkpoint in Yussifiyah, nine miles south of Baghdad, and troops opened fire, killing two police officers and three civilians.

Dr. Anmar Abdul-Hadi of the al-Yarmouk hospital said eight persons were killed in the incident and 12 were wounded.

American commanders recently said they were changing the way they respond to roadside bombings. Rather than pushing on after the blast, they now stop and try to engage the perpetrators, who often detonate the explosives remotely.

The attack came just hours after the United States acknowledged dropping a 500-pound bomb on the wrong house during a search for terror suspects outside the northern city of Mosul. The military said in a statement that five persons were killed.

The owner of the house, Ali Yousef, said 14 persons died when the bomb hit at about 2 a.m. Saturday in the town of Aitha, 30 miles south of Mosul. An Associated Press photographer at the scene said seven children and seven adults were killed. The discrepancy between the military’s, and Mr. Yousef’s and the photographer’s death counts could not be reconciled.

The incidents come as U.S. forces are trying to deal with a surge in violence ahead of national elections scheduled for Jan. 30.

Also yesterday, a U.S. soldier assigned to Task Force Baghdad was killed in a roadside bomb explosion, the military said, although it did not say where the attack occurred. The name of the soldier was withheld pending notification of next of kin.

At least 1,352 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.

The deputy police chief of Samarra, Col. Mohammed Mudhafir, was killed in a drive-by shooting yesterday. Col. Mudhafir was driving alone and was dressed in civilian clothes when he was killed by unknown assailants, Samarra police Maj. Raed Ahmed said.

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