U.S. Troops Kill Pregnant Woman in Iraq

By KIM GAMEL
The Associated Press
Wednesday, May 31, 2006; 11:03 PM

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- U.S. forces killed two Iraqi women _ one of them about to give birth _ when the troops shot at a car that failed to stop at an observation post in a city north of Baghdad, Iraqi officials and relatives said Wednesday. Nabiha Nisaif Jassim, 35, was being raced to the maternity hospital in Samarra by her brother when the shooting occurred Tuesday.

Jassim, the mother of two children, and her 57-year-old cousin, Saliha Mohammed Hassan, were killed by the U.S. forces, according to police Capt. Laith Mohammed and witnesses.

The U.S. military said coalition troops fired at a car after it entered a clearly marked prohibited area near an observation post but failed to stop despite repeated visual and auditory warnings.

"Shots were fired to disable the vehicle," the military said in a statement e-mailed to The Associated Press. "Coalition forces later received reports from Iraqi police that two women had died from gunshot wounds ... and one of the females may have been pregnant."

Jassim's brother, who was wounded by broken glass, said he did not see any warnings as he sped his sister to the hospital. Her husband was waiting for her there.

"I was driving my car at full speed because I did not see any sign or warning from the Americans. It was not until they shot the two bullets that killed my sister and cousin that I stopped," he said. "God take revenge on the Americans and those who brought them here. They have no regard for our lives."

He said doctors tried but failed to save the baby after his sister was brought to the hospital.

The shooting deaths occurred in the wake of an investigation into allegations that U.S. Marines killed unarmed civilians in the western city of Haditha.

The U.S. military said the incident in Samarra, 60 miles north of Baghdad, was being investigated. The city is in the heart of the so-called Sunni Triangle and has in the past seen heavy insurgent activity.

"The loss of life is regrettable and coalition forces go to great lengths to prevent them," the military said.

The women's bodies were wrapped in sheets and lying on stretchers outside the Samarra General Hospital before being taken to the morgue, while residents pointed to bullet holes on the windshield of a car and a pool of blood on the seat.

Khalid Nisaif Jassim, the pregnant woman's brother, said American forces had blocked off the side road only two weeks ago and news about the observation post had been slow to filter out to rural areas.


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