US soldier uses Koran for target practice | world | Hindustan Times
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US soldier uses Koran for target practice

US military commanders have apologised to community leaders in Iraq after an American soldier used a copy of the Koran for shooting practice, moving quickly to calm anger among US-allied tribesmen.

world Updated: May 18, 2008 23:03 IST

US military commanders have apologised to community leaders in Iraq after an American soldier used a copy of the Koran for shooting practice, moving quickly to calm anger among US-allied tribesmen.

Bloody protests have sometimes been held across the Muslim world when the Islamic faith has been insulted.

The swift apology by the US commanders appeared aimed at avoiding similar violence in Iraq.

The US military said on Sunday the soldier, who was not identified, had been disciplined and ordered to leave Iraq after a copy of the Muslim holy book was found riddled with bullet holes at a shooting range near Baghdad on May 11.

The incident is deeply embarrassing for the US military, which has been working hard to forge alliances with Sunni Arab tribes to fight Al Qaeda in Iraq. It has credited such alliances with helping to sharply reduce violence in the country.

An Iraqi community leader said the apology by senior US military commanders had helped calm tensions. Saeed al-Zubaie, head of a US-allied Sunni Arab tribal council in the Radwaniya area near Baghdad where the Koran was found, said the book had been peppered with 14 bullet holes and offensive language had been scrawled inside.