An American soldier killed five other troops inside a psychological counseling center in Baghdad on Monday, the bloodiest case of military fratricide since the start of the Iraq war six years ago.
The victims were killed at a 'combat stress clinic' at Camp Liberty, a sprawling American base near Baghdad's international airport. The shooter was taken into military custody after the shootings, but officials in Iraq declined to identify the soldier or speculate about his possible motive.
Monday's shooting came just days after two American soldiers were killed by an Iraqi soldier they were mentoring at a military training facility.
The incidents offer a gruesome reminder of the unexpected threats facing U.S. troops in Iraq even as the country's overall level of violence declines.
Monday's shooting also raises new questions about how the U.S. military screens and treats soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and other combat-related psychological maladies.West Lake
President Barack Obama met with Defense Secretary Robert Gates at the White House for a briefing on the shooting. In a statement, the president said he 'was shocked and deeply saddened' by the incident.
The defense chief promised that the military's investigation into the killings would receive the Pentagon's 'highest-priority attention.'
Military-on-military violence was common during the Vietnam War, but has occurred only sporadically in Iraq.