Iraq: US Air Strikes kills 56 civilians
- U.S.: Air Strikes Kill Seven Insurgents
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Air strikes have flattened
insurgent safe houses used by militants linked to al
Qaeda in western Iraq, the U.S. Marines told CNN
The air attacks near the Syrian border killed at least
seven militants, the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force
A top operative called Abu Islam was among the dead,
the force said.
Police in Baghdad reported that 56 civilians were
killed in the strikes.
They said police contacts in the region told them 40
civilians died in one house and 16 in another. Two
children survived, they added.
A U.S. military spokesman said he had no specifics yet
on the strike.
Lt. Col. Steve Boylan of the Coalition Press
Information Center said: "We target only military
targets and take precautions on any type of civilian
casualties on all of our operations."
CNN could not independently verify the report of
The three air strikes were ordered on Husayba and
Karabila, near Qaim, after tips were received,
officials told CNN.
Four 500-pound bombs were dropped on a house outside
Husayba in the first raid at 6:20 a.m. (10:20 p.m.
Monday ET), a statement said.
Two more bombs were later dropped on a house the
Marines said was occupied by Abu Islam.
In the third attack, two bombs were aimed at a house
in Karabila where militants sought refuge after the
first strike, the statement said.
The attacks were the latest combat in continued
hostilities reported in the border region.
On Friday, Marine planes pounded a suspected safe
house in Husayba where about 50 insurgents were said
to be staying, the day after three U.S. soldiers died
in a roadside bombing in the town.
U.S. pilot killed
A U.S. pilot was killed and a second was wounded when
a U.S. helicopter was hit by small-arms fire in
northern Iraq, a military spokesman said.
The attack on the UH-58 Kiowa Warrior helicopter came
while it was flying over Tal Afar.
The aircraft went down, but the wounded pilot was able
to get the helicopter airborne again and left the
The number of U.S. troops killed in the Iraq war
stands at 1,878.
Violence continues in Iraq as politicians try to move
forward with the constitutional process.
In separate incidents Monday, gunmen assassinated the
brother of the former governor of Baghdad and an
official assigned to the Iraqi Elections Commission.
The killings came a day after Iraq's constitutional
committee approved a final draft of the Iraqi
constitution and put it before the National Assembly,
despite the rejection of Sunni Arab leaders.
It will go to the Iraqi people, who will vote by
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