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2 Iraqi Weapons Dealers Killed in Tikrit - 2003-08-08

U.S. military officials say their troops killed two Iraqis and wounded two others who were dealing in explosives and other weapons in Saddam Hussein's hometown, Tikrit. The incident comes one day after a bombing in Baghdad killed at least 13 people.

A military officer responsible for operations in Tikrit says U.S. forces had positioned snipers around a market, after hearing that weapons and ammunition were sold there every Friday.

Lieutenant Colonel Steve Russell told reporters in Tikrit his troops had the area under observation after receiving a tip from local people through the Iraqi police.

He says the U.S. military has made clear to Iraqis that when they buy and carry weapons, they become combatants, and the troops may attack them. So when four men began unloading weapons and what appeared to be bombmaking equipment, U.S. soldiers opened fire.

Lieutenant Colonel Russell says after the shooting soldiers found explosives and Kalashnikov rifles in the car.