U.S. troops killed one demonstrator and wounded several others in Baghdad when they were attacked by an angry mob.
U.S. troops fired into a crowd of several thousand angry protesters who pelted the soldiers with stones and fired guns and a rocket propelled grenade at them in a Baghdad slum late Wednesday. No U.S. casualties were reported in the incident.
A U.S. military spokesman said soldiers returned fire in Sadr City, a predominantly Shiite Muslim slum, after local tempers flared over the removal of an Islamic banner from a communications tower.
This was the first violent encounter between U.S. troops and Shiite Muslims in Baghdad. Although Shiites make up around 60 percent of Iraq's population, they had little political power under the regime of Saddam Hussein and were often subjected to persecution.
The military says three U.S. soldiers have died since Tuesday in separate bomb attacks north of Baghdad.
U.S. military officials have said that recently there have been an average of 12 attacks a day throughout Iraq and they blame the violence on people loyal to the regime of Saddam Hussein.
The most recent attacks bring to 67 the number of U.S. soldiers killed in hostile fire incidents since President Bush declared major combat to be over in May. Another 475 have been injured.