The Official Story

From Holden:

Earlier this morning I linked to a BBC report that the Army had admitted that an artillery “training exercise” lead to the deaths of three Iraqi civilians.

Here is CentCom’s press release on the incident.

Title: ACCIDENT IN DIYALA KILLS THREE, INJURES THREE

Release Date: 6/4/2006

Release Number: 06-06-04PR

Description: TIKRIT, Iraq – A Task Force Band of Brothers artillery unit fired an artillery round from a military base near Baqubah that landed in an inhabited area June 2.

The unit, from the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, fired a 155 mm round from a Paladin self-propelled howitzer during training that impacted in the town of Hibhib.

A short time later Iraqi Police reported an explosion at a building in the town that killed two Iraqi civilians, injured four others and damaged six houses.

U.S. Soldiers from a nearby military base responded to the incident to provide medical care and any assistance needed by town officials. One of the injured civilians was evacuated to a nearby Coalition Force medical facility but later died from her wounds. The three other injured citizens were treated on site and released.

An investigation into the incident is underway.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT THE 101ST AIRBORNE DIVISION PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE AT EDWARD.LOOMIS@US.ARMY.MIL.

For the record, this is what a 155mm Paladin Self-Propelled Howitzer looks like, sort of a tank with a big-ass gun sticking out of the front. How such a weapon is useful in fighting an insurgency is beyond me.