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US Soldier Charged With Killing Colleagues in Iraq


U.S. military officials say an American soldier has been charged with five counts of murder in the fatal shooting of his colleagues at a U.S. base in Baghdad.

Sergeant John M. Russell allegedly shot and killed five fellow soldiers Monday at a Camp Liberty counseling clinic where soldiers seek help for stress.

Army spokesman Major General David Perkins told reporters in Baghdad Russell was probably on his third tour of duty in Iraq, and was due to leave soon. He said the soldier's weapon had been taken away, but that Russell got another weapon and returned to the clinic.

Perkins says the U.S. military is investigating its mental health procedures and whether the services offered are adequate. Studies suggest that nearly one-fifth of U.S. troops returning from Iraq suffer from emotional problems.

U.S. Admiral Mike Mullen said Monday the shooting speaks to the need to redouble efforts in dealing with stress.

U.S. President Barack Obama issued a statement saying he was shocked and saddened by the attack.

Separately Tuesday, Iraqi officials said a suicide bomber rammed his vehicle into an Iraqi police patrol in the northern city of Kirkuk, killing five police officers and one civilian.

Officials said the bombing wounded at least 14 other people, including officers and civilians.

Kirkuk is the center of Iraq's oil production in the north, and is contested between its Kurdish and Arab populations.

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