Wednesday, March 15, 2006

U.S.-Led Raid Kills Civilians North Of Balad

A rural area north of Balad, Iraq, where U.S.-led forces conducted a raid Wednesday against suspected insurgents. Eleven people were killed, including five children, four women and two men, Iraqi police said. But the U.S. military provided a lower casualty count, saying an insurgent, two women and a child were killed.

CNN reports:
A U.S.-led raid on a suspected site of terror network al Qaeda in Iraq killed 11 civilians -- including five children -- according to Iraqi police, but the U.S. military said the death toll from the strike north of Balad was four.

In addition to the children, the youngest of whom was 6 months old, the dead included four women and two men, police said.

A U.S. military spokesman said a suspected insurgent, two women and a child were killed in the raid on a building about 10 miles (16 kilometers) north of Balad.

U.S.-led forces came under fire as they raided the building, said Maj. Tim O'Keefe. Air support fired on the site, and the targeted building and a vehicle were destroyed, O'Keefe said.

A man suspected of being a "foreign fighter facilitator" was taken into coalition custody and is being questioned.

Police Capt. Laith Mohammed told The Associated Press that U.S. warplanes and armor were involved in the strike, which flattened a house and killed the 11 people inside. (Gallery -- Viewer discretion advised)

An AP reporter at the scene said the roof of the house collapsed, three cars were destroyed and two cows killed.

AP photographs showed the bodies of two men, five children and four other covered bodies arriving at a hospital in Tikrit accompanied by grieving relatives.

Blankets swaddle the bodies of young children reportedly killed in the U.S.-led raid. The children were taken to a hospital in Tikrit, about 90 miles (150 kilometers) north of Baghdad. Police said five children were among the 11 killed in the raid. American-led forces came under fire as they approached the building north of Balad, according to U.S. Maj. Tim O'Keefe.

An unidentified man mourns over the bodies of family members killed in the U.S.-led raid as they arrive at a hospital in Tikrit. The raid, targeted at suspected members of terrorist network al Qaeda in Iraq, netted one "foreign fighter facilitator," who was taken into custody for questioning, the U.S. military said.