The US Army has opened a criminal investigation against the US soldier who fatally shot at close range an Iraqi man who was already grievously wounded in a vehicle after a high-speed chase near the city of Kufa, US Central Command said on Friday. 

 

The Army Criminal Investigation Command will look into whether the US soldier, from the 1st Armored Division, shot the Iraqi in the May 21 incident to try to end the man's suffering from serious wounds, officials said.

 

One official said soldiers "don't get to make those kinds of decisions", and Central Command called the incident "a potential violation of US rules of engagement".

 

In a statement, Central Command said US forces came across a motorcade in which the Iraqi was driving one of the vehicles. Central Command did not specify the nature of the motorcade.

 

"A high-speed chase ensued and during the course of the encounter, the Iraqi vehicle was engaged with gunfire. The driver was seriously injured and a passenger was less seriously

wounded. Reports indicate that the injured driver was shot at

close range by a US soldier and died," according to the statement.

 

Central Command officials declined to identify the soldier under investigation even by rank, and offered no details on the dead Iraqi.