(Reuters) - An Iraqi civilian died after U.S. forces opened fire on his car on Sunday as it approached a military convoy near Baghdad's airport, the U.S. military said.
The road where the incident took place is near a U.S. base and is used by U.S. military convoys frequently.
"A U.S. convoy traveling on the main road to Baghdad International Airport attempted to stop a civilian vehicle approaching at high speed from the rear without its lights on," it said in a statement.
An Interior Ministry source told Reuters the victim was an airport communications engineer.
"The driver failed to slow down, turn on his lights or react to hand-and-arm signals and other escalation-of-force procedures from the convoy," the U.S. military said.
"As a result, the vehicle was perceived as a threat and a decision was made to engage it with small-arms fire in order to stop it and to protect the convoy from possible attack."
U.S. forces ended combat operations officially on August 31. Their patrols are rarely seen in the streets and their main role is to advise and train Iraqi forces.
The remaining 50,000 U.S. soldiers in Iraq must leave the country by the end of 2011 under a bilateral security accord.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Saturday that Iraq's police and army had proved they could control security, adding there was no need for any other international force to help the country.
Overall violence has fallen sharply in Iraq since the height of the sectarian slaughter in 2006-2007 but killings and bombings still occur daily, followed every few weeks by a major, devastating assault by insurgents.