Dutch troops kill 2 people in Iraq
20 August 2004, AMSTERDAM — Two people were killed on Thursday night when Dutch soldiers shot at a car near their base in the southern Iraqi city of Samawah.
20 August 2004
AMSTERDAM — Two people were killed on Thursday night when Dutch soldiers shot at a car near their base in the southern Iraqi city of Samawah.
The soldiers returned fire after the occupants of the car shot first, a spokesperson for the Dutch defence ministry said. The incident occurred at about 11.45pm local time.
The car careered off the road and when the soldiers approached it they found the two occupants dead. It is not clear if they were killed by the gunfire or the crash, the spokesman told news agency ANP.
The Dutch military police service and local Iraqi police are investigating the incident.
Japanese news agency Kyodo cited local officials as saying the Dutch soldiers opened fire on a "suspicious vehicle", killing two people in it. The police said they did not find any weapons in the car and suggested the Dutch forces had mistakenly fired.
The Netherlands has 1,276 troops serving with the international stabilisation force in Iraq. The Dutch are based in southern Iraq and are under British overall command. Some 500 members of the Japanese defence force are there to help with reconstruction efforts.
Troops have been on high alert in southern Iraq for over a week following increased violence in the region stemming from the fighting in Najaf.
Iraqi authorities have expressed fear that militia loyal to Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr may take action in Samawah, Kyodo reported. Last Saturday a Dutch military policeman was killed in an ambush on an un-armoured jeep.
Dutch defence minister Henk Kemp announced on Thursday two additional platoons of 60 soldiers in total were being sent to Iraq.
Patrolling is been kept to a minimum until the security situation becomes clearer and all patrols will include an all-terrain vehicle mounted with a heavy machine gun. More armoured vehicles will be used.
The Dutch contingent will also recommence gathering intelligence on the security situation in Iraq.
Currently the Iraqi authorities are responsible for intelligence gathering but Kemp said the information is not reaching the Dutch command fast enough.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news