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  US military defends checkpoint killings
Updated 01 April 2003, 14.35
Coalition forces working at a bridge checkpoint
The US military has said their soldiers "absolutely did the right thing" after an incident in which they shot dead seven Iraqi women and children.

US soldiers were guarding a roadblock near the city of Najaf, south of Baghdad, when a vehicle drove towards them.

When it didn't stop they shot at it.

They say they fired a number of shots into the air and the vehicle's engine to try and get it to stop, and only fired into the vehicle itself when it kept going.

Suicide bombers

Coalition forces found these weapons in an Iraqi school
Coalition forces found these weapons in an Iraqi school
But it has also been reported that no warning shots were fired, or that they were not fired early enough.

Soldiers at roadblocks are trying to guard against suicide bombers after an Iraqi army officer killed four US troops when a taxi he was driving exploded near them.

The coalition forces are trying to convince the Iraqi people that they are there to help them, but incidents where civilians die make it much more difficult.

Tuesday also saw the Iraqi military fire missiles at coalition soldiers inside the country for the first time.

Even though some missiles landed close to a British Royal Marine camp and a Iraqi prisoner of war camp, no one was hurt.

Other main points:

  • US capture an important Iraqi general in the Karbala region
  • Iraq says the US bombed two buses full of 'human shield' volunteers
  • Kuwait says a missile fired from Iraq was shot down by Patriot missiles
  • Saddam Hussein denies members of his family have been trying to flee Iraq


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US troops kill seven civilians
Baghdad defences hit hard by coalition
US sends more troops to key Iraqi town
US General Franks: Iraq war 'on track'

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