Apology for Shooting Koran Doesn't Close Case

Used Muslim Holy text for target practice
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted May 19, 2008 5:15 PM CDT
U.S. Army soldier from the 3rd Special Troops Battalion, secures the area during a patrol in the Shiite enclave of Sadr City in Baghdad. Senior officers apologized after a US sniper was shown to have...   (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
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(Newser) – The US military's swift disciplining of an Army sniper who used a Koran for target practice reflects growing awareness of the need to forge bonds with the Sunni Arabs, whose cooperation is crucial to peace in Iraq, the LA Times reports. But apologies and discipline aren't enough for an influential political party that today called for "the severest of punishments," CNN reports.

"This incident is not representative of the professionalism of our soldiers or the respect they have for all faiths," said a US military spokesman. Speaking for the Iraqi Islamic Party, VP Tariq al-Hashimi demanded "a guarantee from the US military to inflict the maximum possible punishment on this soldier so it would be a deterrent for the rest of the soldiers in the future."