A U.S. soldier opened fire on fellow troops today, killing five before being taken into custody, the U.S. command said.
The shooting occurred at Camp Liberty, a sprawling U.S. base on the western edge of Baghdad near the city’s international airport and adjacent to another facility where President Barack Obama visited last month.
A brief U.S. statement said the soldier “suspected of being involved with the shooting” was in custody but gave no further details. It was unclear what provoked the attack.
“Anytime we lose one of our own, it affects us all,” U.S. spokesman Col. John Robinson said. “Our hearts go out to the families and friends of all the service members involved in this terrible tragedy.”
There have been several incidents recently when gunmen dressed as Iraqi soldiers have opened fire on American troops, including an attack in the northern city of Mosul on May 2 when two soldiers and the gunman were killed.
The toll from today’s shooting was the highest for U.S. personnel in a single attack since April 10, when a suicide truck driver killed five American soldiers with a blast near a police headquarters in Mosul. The U.S. death toll in April was 19, the highest in seven months, amid an upsurge of violence in Iraq.
Separately, the military announced today that a U.S. soldier was also killed a day earlier when a roadside bomb exploded near his vehicle in Basra province of southern Baghdad.
Attacks on officers, known as fraggings, were not uncommon during the Vietnam war as morale in the ranks sank.
But the only other member of the U.S. military convicted of murdering a superior since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began is Army Sgt. Hasan Akbar of the 101st Airborne Division. Akbar was sentenced to death for a 2003 grenade-and-rifle attack at a base in Kuwait before his unit’s move into in Iraq.
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