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US army apologises to Shiite clerics over deadly clash

The US army apologised to Shiite Muslim clerics in Baghdad over a clash that left an Iraqi dead, and promised to punish the soldiers responsible, according to a letter obtained by AFP. “We deeply regret what happened today (Wednesday),” said a letter signed Thursday by Christopher Hoffman of the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, the copy of which was provided by a Shiite cleric here. US troops fired into a crowd of thousands of demonstrators who took to the streets Wednesday after an American helicopter apparently tried to remove a black religious flag from a communications tower. The army said it had been attacked with rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), guns and stones. An Iraqi was killed in the incident, which took place in Sadr City, Baghdad’s poor and predominantly Shiite district that was known as Saddam City during the dictator’s reign. Full Story

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