Six People Die During Iraqi Firing
AMARAH, Iraq -British troops and Iraqi police fired at armed, stone-throwing protesters, killing six people and wounding 11, when a crowd of Iraqis angry over the lack of jobs marched on coalition offices in this southern city, according to witnesses and officials.
Shots were heard coming from among hundreds of protesters who had gathered in front of the coalition office, and Iraqi police, thinking they were under attack, opened fire, a British military spokeswoman said.
At the same time there were "reports of small explosions in the crowd," said the spokeswoman, speaking on condition of customary anonymity.
British soldiers moved in with armored vehicles to support the police, and assailants in the crowd lobbed three explosive devices at them, believed to be hand grenades, she said. Britain's 1st Battalion of the Light Infantry is based in Amarah, a city 200 miles southwest of Baghdad.
The soldiers saw a man lobbing one of the devices and shot him, apparently killing him.
The crowd dispersed after the shooting, but in the afternoon assailants threw two explosive devices at the armored cars. Soldiers shot one man and believe they wounded him.
The spokeswoman said British forces had reports of five deaths and one person injured.
Dr. Saad Hamoud of the Al-Zahrawi Surgical Hospital said six people were killed and the hospital was treating 11 wounded protesters. There were no reports of casualties among the police, and the British spokeswoman said no soldiers were injured.
The protesters were demanding that coalition authorities keep a promise to give unemployed people jobs by the beginning of January.
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