U.S. airstrike story is challenged: locals say that woman and child were among those killed

Iraqi men load onto a car the coffin of a relative killed during a US military air strike near Kadhimiya shrine

 Iraqis chant slogans as they carry coffins of their relatives killed during a US military air strike in the predominantly Shiite Baghdad suburb of Sadr City, 08 August 2007.WISSAM AL-OKAILI/AFP/Getty

Detentions Take Strange Pattern, Residents Say; Airstrike Death Toll May Top 50 

Iraqis chant slogans as they carry coffins of their relatives killed during a US military air strike in the predominantly Shiite Baghdad suburb of Sadr City, 08 August 2007.  Also, according to local sources, US forces operating in two separate areas of Sadr City took one man from each household having over four sons.  Locals speculate as to the purpose of the operations, since the men taken from each household were not known to be wanted by US or Iraqi forces.  37 were arrested in the raids, according to local sources.

A US military spokesman said there were no civilian casualties in the strikes by helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft in Sadr City, a sprawling Shi’ite slum in northeastern Baghdad.  “There were women and children in the area when we conducted the operation, but none were killed in the air strike,” Lieutenant-Colonel Christopher Garver said.

The manager of the Imam Ali Hospital in Sadr City said 10 people were killed, one of them a woman, and seven men wounded. Sadr City Hospital had received three bodies, its manager said, and four wounded, including a 13-year-old boy.  Police said 11 people died, including women and children.

The predawn raid came hours before a vehicle curfew was imposed in the city, ahead of a major Shi’ite ceremony that two years ago saw the deadliest single incident in Iraq’s four-year conflict. More than 1,000 people were killed in a stampede.

The US military said its soldiers and Iraqi allies killed two armed men as they began raids in Sadr City, a stronghold of militia fighters loyal to cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

Air strikes were called in when they saw “a large group of armed men” and a vehicle attempting to attack ground forces, a US military statement said.

“Eliminating these cells is important to bring down the level of violence against US and Iraqi troops and the Iraqi people and taking weapons off the street,” Garver said.

http://www.thanhniennews.com/worlds/?catid=9&newsid=30819

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