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World Briefing / Iraq

3 herders killed on artillery range

August 16, 2009|TIMES WIRE REPORTS

Three Iraqi men herding cattle were killed when they wandered into the middle of a U.S.-Iraqi mortar training exercise north of the Iraqi capital, the U.S. military said.

American forces were conducting a live-fire training exercise with Iraqis near Taji, 12 miles north of Baghdad, when the men walked onto the artillery range, the military said. An 11-year-old boy was injured. He was taken to a U.S. military hospital where he was in stable condition, the military said.

The accident comes at a time when the U.S. military is shifting its primary role in Iraq from combat to training Iraqi security forces.

As part of the transition, the U.S. military said, it will have reduced combat power in Iraq at the end of the month by the equivalent of two brigades, or about 8,000 troops, meeting the first target in President Obama's withdrawal plan.

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