U.S. Forces, Iraqi Residents Disagree On Deaths In Raid




 
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December 4th, 2006  
Team Infidel
 
 

Topic: U.S. Forces, Iraqi Residents Disagree On Deaths In Raid


Los Angeles Times
December 4, 2006
Neighbors say 9 in one family are slain, not suspected insurgents.
By Alexandra Zavis, Times Staff Writer
BAGHDAD U.S. forces destroyed two buildings west of Baghdad, killing six suspected insurgents, two women and a child, the military said Sunday.
It was the latest in a series of raids in which civilians have been killed as U.S. and Iraqi forces battle insurgents in residential areas. The U.S. military has accused insurgents of using women and children as human shields.
Neighbors disputed the military's account, saying that the victims were members of a local family and that there were more civilian casualties than the U.S. acknowledged. It was not possible to verify the conflicting accounts.
At least 68 other Iraqis were reported killed Sunday across the country, many of them apparent victims of the civil war between Shiite Muslims and members of the Sunni Arab minority that dominated Iraq under Saddam Hussein.
The U.S. military reported that six soldiers and one Marine were killed in weekend combat.
The Pentagon confirmed the death of an Air Force pilot previously listed as missing after his F-16CG fighter jet crashed Nov. 27 in Al Anbar province, a hotbed of insurgent activity. DNA tests on remains found at the crash site confirmed the pilot's identity, the military said in a statement.
At least 2,900 U.S. military deaths have been reported since the start of the Iraq war in 2003, according to icasualties.org.
Gaping craters and blood-stained rubble marked the spot of the raid late Saturday in a farming community on the outskirts of Karmah, in the same region as last week's jet crash.
Recent intelligence reports indicated that one of the buildings targeted was being used to harbor foreign fighters, the U.S. military said in a statement.
U.S. troops decided an airstrike was the safest option in light of the surrounding residents and allied forces because it would avoid a gunfight, the military said. The bodies of the two women and child were found after the blast along with those of five men.
Shortly before the airstrike, ground forces said they saw several suspected insurgents moving to a nearby building. One other suspect was killed and three detained during a search of that building, which also yielded numerous small arms and munitions, the military said.
Neighbors interviewed at the site said the first house belonged to a family of 11, nine of whom were killed in the airstrike. They identified the victims as a woman and eight of her children. The woman's husband and a ninth child were injured and taken to Fallouja for medical care, they said.
"This is clear retaliation for the downing of the American fighter," said Ihsan Luhaibi, who said he helped recover and bury the dead. "The American troops are acting in a hysterical manner. What sin has this family committed?"
The military said other residents thanked them for ridding the area of terrorists, who they said had killed several men in the village.
U.S. and Iraqi forces said they detained nine more suspects and found large quantities of weapons in other raids in Baghdad and neighboring Babil province.
Three U.S. soldiers were killed by roadside bombs Saturday, two of them in Al Anbar province and one near Taji, north of the capital, the military said. Two soldiers and a Marine died the same day of injuries sustained in combat in Al Anbar, and one more soldier was killed Sunday in Baghdad, the military said.
Elsewhere, the bullet-riddled body of the Sunni Arab chairman of one of Iraq's leading soccer clubs was found in west Baghdad, the Sports Journalists Guild reported.
Gunmen seized Hadib Majhoul, the head of the popular Talaba soccer club and a member of the Iraqi Soccer Federation, Thursday on his way to work. He was one of numerous sports figures to be targeted in Iraq's escalating sectarian violence.
Soccer players at the Asian Games in Doha, Qatar, observed a minute of silence Sunday for Majhoul, news services said.
The bodies of two more Baghdad kidnapping victims were recovered Saturday a member of a pre-Islamic religious group and a politician belonging to former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's parliamentary bloc. The politician's eyes had been gouged out, his allies said.
At least 50 other bodies, many of them handcuffed and showing signs of torture, were recovered in Baghdad in the 24 hours ending Sunday night, the Interior Ministry said.
A car bomb exploded Sunday outside a row of shops in northeast Baghdad, killing three people and injuring 15 others, police said. Another bomb targeting a police patrol near Shaab Stadium, in east Baghdad, ripped through a passing car, severely injuring its five occupants, police said.
North of the capital near Kirkuk, a suicide bomber detonated explosives strapped to his waist as the convoy of a local police official approached a checkpoint, police said. The official survived the blast, which killed two bodyguards and a soldier.
Three more people were killed in a drive-by shooting north of Hillah, a strife-torn city south of Baghdad.
Also south of the capital, British and Iraqi troops clashed with gunmen in Basra. At least one civilian died in the crossfire, Iraqi police said.
Late Saturday, gunmen attacked a minibus transporting six off-duty Iraqi soldiers in Balad, killing five of them, according to the Joint Coordination Center in Salahuddin province.
Special correspondents in Baghdad, Hillah, Basra and Karmah contributed to this report.
 


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