U.S. Marines Kill Iraqi Civilian at Checkpoint

Tue Apr 1, 1:20 AM ET

SHATRA, Iraq (Reuters) - U.S. Marines said they shot dead an unarmed Iraqi who drove his pickup truck at speed toward a checkpoint they were manning outside the southern town of Shatra on Tuesday.

They riddled his white truck with bullets after it sped toward their roadblock on the main highway near Nassiriya, apparently oblivious to barbed wire strewn across the road.

His passenger was badly wounded. The truck was not loaded and neither of the men was in uniform or armed, Marines told Reuters correspondent Sean Maguire at the scene.

"I thought it was a suicide bomb," said one of the servicemen who fired on the vehicle. Troops have been nervous after a suicide car bomb attack on Saturday killed four American soldiers at a checkpoint near Najaf.

Just hours earlier, U.S. troops fired on a civilian car, also near Najaf in central Iraq, killing seven women and children, when it failed to stop at a checkpoint in the desert, U.S. military officials said.

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