Iraq — An American sniper was removed from Iraq after he used a copy of the Quran for target practice, the military said Sunday, a day after a U.S. commander held a formal ceremony apologizing to Sunni tribal leaders.
The elaborate ceremony - in which one U.S. officer kissed a new copy of Islam's holy book before giving it to the tribal leaders - reflected the military's eagerness to stave off anger among Sunni Arabs it has been cultivating as allies.
The tribesmen have become key in the fight against al-Qaida in Iraq militants, who depict the American forces as anti-Islamic occupiers.
Iraqi police found the bullet-riddled Quran with graffiti inside the cover on a firing range near a police station in Radwaniyah, a former insurgent stronghold west of Baghdad, U.S. military spokesman Col. Bill Buckner said. American commanders launched an inquiry that led to disciplinary action against the unidentified soldier, who has been removed from Iraq.