Author`s name Olga Savka

Five Iraqi civilians traveling to their relative's funeral killed by US soldiers

A 22-year-old student who was driving the vehicle but escaped serious injury, said that he suddenly saw US military vehicles just ahead

U.S. forces mistakenly killed five Iraqi civilians, a child among them, who were traveling in a minivan outside an American base in a city north of Baghdad on Monday. The civilians were reportedly traveling to the funeral ceremony of their relative. US servicemen in Iraq

In the largely Shiite southern city of Basra, insurgents killed a Sunni cleric, Khalil Ibrahim, outside his home, police Capt. Mushtaq Talib said. Ibrahim was a member of the Association of Muslim Scholars, a group of influential Sunni clerics that has been sharply critical of the Shiite-led government.

In the shooting of the five civilians, a U.S. soldier thought the vehicle was moving erratically outside the base in Baqouba and fired warning shots, said Maj. Steven Warren, a U.S. spokesman, according to the AP.

An Iraqi police report said two men and three children were killed and two women and a child were wounded in the shooting. Some witnesses were quoted as saying that the family was traveling to a funeral at the time of the attack, Latin American News Agency reports.

Ahmed Kamel al-Sawamara, a 22-year-old student who was driving the vehicle but escaped serious injury, said that he suddenly saw US military vehicles just ahead of him, says AFP.

"The soldiers started shooting at us from all over. I slowed down and pulled off the road, but they continued firing," he told reporters. "I saw my family killed, one after the other, and then the car caught fire. I dragged their bodies out."

Source: agencies

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