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Sunday, November 30, 2003

Bloodbath in Samarra
The BBC reports that several innocent bystanders were shot by US tanks responding to an attempted ambush of their convoy.

The US military has reported killing 46 militants and wounding 18 in clashes in the central Iraqi city of Samarra. Five US soldiers and a civilian were wounded in the fighting which raged as militants made a series of attacks on convoys in the city on Sunday.

But witnesses said a US tank had fired indiscriminately during the fighting, killing at least two factory-workers.
Frightened witnesses in Samarra told a correspondent for the French news agency AFP who managed to enter the city that US forces had repeatedly come under attack on Sunday.

However, they added that, in the aftermath of one attack at about 1255 (0955 GMT), an American tank had opened fire on workers leaving a factory at the end of their shift, killing two and wounding "many".

"We're sending a clear message that anyone who attempts to attack our convoys will pay the price," the [US military] spokesman said.

Actually, it sounds like the military has decided to go with Trent Lott's suggestion from October: “If we have to, we just mow the whole place down, see what happens. You’re dealing with insane suicide bombers who are killing our people, and we need to be very aggressive in taking them out.”

November saw the most coalition casualties of any month in the war, and today was apparently the deadliest single for Iraqis since "major combat operations" ended. I'm afraid that December will break both records. The article reports that there were seven Spaniards, two Japanese, two South Koreans and a Colombian killed in Iraq this weekend.

[Update] The Washington Post doesn't mention the factory workers, only that
American military officials said they had no information about any possible Iraqi civilian casualties.