US soldier dies, blast kills Iraqi boy as police shoot dead two protesters in Kirkuk
Gunfire erupted Wednesday as hundreds of protesters marched in Kirkuk and at least two people were reported killed in this northern city.
According to The AP, Police Col. Salem Taha said two protesters were killed and 16 were injured in the shooting. A reporter saw six people hit by gunshots, and heard sirens as ambulances rushed to the rescue.
Witnesses fleeing the scene said police opened fire on the crowd, but police said the shots came from members of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, as demonstrators tried to converge on that party's office.
U.S. soldiers moved in with tanks to block the area and set up checkpoints at major intersections.
Hundreds of Arabs and Turkmen began protesting Wednesday morning to demand that Kirkuk remain under a central Iraqi government and not be incorporated into any proposed Kurdish federation.
"Kirkuk is an Iraqi city!" protesters shouted. "Down with federalism." Some Kurds in Kirkuk have been calling for the city to become part of an autonomous Kurdistan.
In Baghdad, a car bomb exploded as a U.S. convoy passed on a street full of shops, destroying one Humvee, Iraqi police Sgt. Thabet Talib said. An 8-year-old Iraqi boy was killed and 11 other Iraqi bystanders were being treated for wounds, hospital doctors said.
Also Wednesday, American military officials reported a soldier was killed and a second wounded in the accidental discharge of a weapon. A statement said the accident, in the 82nd Airborne Division, took place Tuesday evening at Tanf, on Iraq's western border with Syria. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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