US Commander Apologizes for Koran Target Practice

Calls shooting 'criminal behavior'; soldier sent back to US
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted May 18, 2008 8:10 AM CDT
US Commander Apologizes for Koran Target Practice
In this Wednesday, April 23, 2008 file photo, U.S. Army soldiers from from B Company, 1st Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment patrol in the Shiite stronghold of Sadr City in Baghdad, Iraq.    (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

A US commander has apologized to Iraqi tribal leaders after an American soldier used a Koran for target practice in Iraq, CNN reports. “The actions of one soldier were nothing more than criminal behavior,” said Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Hammond, head of US troops in Baghdad. "Please forgive me and my soldiers." The soldier, who has been sent back to the US, shot up a copy of the Muslim holy book earlier this month.

The general also read a letter of apology from the soldier. An Iraqi policeman found the book with a target drawn on it. Pictures also show an expletive written on its pages. The shooting sparked local protests and condemnation from Muslim groups. (More Iraq stories.)

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