"Officials: US kills 6 Iraqis in error" by Anna Johnson, Associated Press | September 4, 2008
BAGHDAD - US troops on boats in the Tigris river mistakenly killed six Iraqis yesterday in an exchange of fire between the two sides north of Baghdad, Iraqi officials said.
The clash began when Iraqi troops at a checkpoint fired at approaching US military boats near Tarmiyah, 30 miles north of Baghdad, police and security officials said. They did not realize the boats, which had their lights off, were American.
Why would the Americans have had their lights off?
The US soldiers fired back, killing two Iraqi soldiers, two police officers and two US-backed Sunni tribesmen, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to release the information to the media. Two US helicopters later fired on a one-room house on an island in the river near the site of the clash, the Iraqis said.
The US military confirmed there was an incident of "mistaken fire" between US and Iraqi forces while the US-led coalition was conducting an operation in the area against suspected Al Qaeda in Iraq militants. A US spokesman said aircraft were also involved but did not give more details.
"It is always regretful when incidents of mistaken fire occur on the battlefield," the spokesman, Major John Hall, said in an e-mail. An investigation was under way, he said.