Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said an Iraqi officer was "out of line" when he detained U.S. soldiers last week after they killed three Iraqis while pursuing insurgents. The troops were returning fire after insurgents attacked their convoy. The soldiers were detained due to differing interpretations of the murky military guidelines that went into effect January 1. The guidelines stipulate the U.S. withdraw from major cities before leaving the country completely by 2011, but some interpret them to mean the troops are prohibited from military operations altogether. The agreement "clearly states that American forces have the right to defend themselves," Maliki said, which is what the troops did when they were attacked. "It is self-evident that American forces are now confined to their bases and camps," he added. "They are there lawfully, therefore if they are attacked by any group, according to the agreement, they can return fire, they can defend themselves." Four were also injured in the incident, including two children.
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