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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 June 2006, 23:21 GMT 00:21 UK
Killing sparks Iraq-Australia row
A vehicle in which one of the Iraqi trade minister's bodyguards was shot dead in the ministry car park in Baghdad
Guards thought armed men in the ministry car park were insurgets
Security staff guarding Australian diplomats in Baghdad have provoked a row by mistakenly shooting dead a bodyguard of the Iraqi trade minister.

The incident happened when the Australians' security team reportedly mistook Abdul Falah al-Sudani's plainclothes guards for insurgents.

Mr Sudani accused Australia of "trampling on the dignity" of Iraqis.

He demanded Australia explain itself and compensate the families of those killed and wounded in the incident.

At least three of Mr Sudani's guards are believed to have been hurt in the attack by the Australians' security team.

'Criminal aggression'

Witnesses say the Australians' guards opened fire as they were escorting an embassy delegation out of Mr Sudani's Baghdad office.

Samir al-Bahadiry, another bodyguard for Mr Sudani, told Reuters news agency he was in a convoy following the Australians as they left the meeting with the minister.

"They [the Australians' guards] thought the driver was trying to pass and they shot and killed him and wounded three guards and two civilians," he said.

Footage filmed by the agency showed the Iraqi guards' bullet-riddled vehicle had crashed into a pole.

Iraqi officials said the Australians' guards may have mistaken the bodyguards for insurgents, as they were dressed in civilian clothes and armed with AK-47 rifles.

Appearing on state television, Mr Sudani said Australia's government must explain "this intentional and unwarranted criminal aggression against members of our protection force".

"It should also compensate the family of the martyr and the wounded," he said.

Australian government officials in Canberra told the Reuters news agency the incident was under investigation.




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