Iraqis pray next to the coffins of victims of U.S. airstrikes in Ramadi, Iraq on Monday. U.S. warplanes and helicopters bombed two villages near Ramadi, killing an estimated 70 militants, the military said Monday, though residents said at least 39 of the dead were civilians.
Iraqis pray next to the coffins of victims of U.S. airstrikes in Ramadi, Iraq on Monday. U.S. warplanes and helicopters bombed two villages near Ramadi, killing an estimated 70 militants, the military said Monday, though residents said at least 39 of the dead were civilians.
(AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

Iraqis Say Civilians Killed in U.S. Raids

Grieving Iraqis comfort each other. According to the U.S. military, 70 insurgents were killed during the airstrikes, which took place in an area known for its heavy insurgent presence.
Grieving Iraqis comfort each other. According to the U.S. military, 70 insurgents were killed during the airstrikes, which took place in an area known for its heavy insurgent presence. (Bilal Hussein - AP)

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By Ellen Knickmeyer
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, October 18, 2005

BAGHDAD, Oct. 17 -- A U.S. fighter jet bombed a crowd gathered around a burned Humvee on the edge of a provincial capital in western Iraq, killing 25 people, including 18 children, hospital officials and family members said Monday. The military said the Sunday raid targeted insurgents planting a bomb for new attacks.

In all, residents and hospital workers said, 39 civilians and at least 13 armed insurgents were killed in a day of U.S. airstrikes in Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, a Sunni Arab region with a heavy insurgent presence.

The U.S. military said it killed a total of 70 insurgents in Sunday's airstrikes and, in a statement, said it knew of no civilian deaths.

At Ramadi hospital, distraught and grieving families fought over body parts severed by the airstrikes, staking rival claims to what they believed to be pieces of their loved ones.

In Albu Fahad, a community on the east edge of Ramadi, family members gathered Monday in a black funeral tent. A black banner listed the names of the 18 children and seven adults allegedly killed by the F-15 strike.

Residents and the U.S. military gave sharply different accounts of the air raid.

Both agreed that the incident occurred near a crater left in a road by a bomb that killed five U.S. soldiers and two Iraqi soldiers on Saturday.

Residents said that a second Humvee was attacked at the site Sunday and that its burned wreckage remained at the scene. U.S. forces cordoned it off for one or two hours, then departed with the wreckage still there, residents said.

Children and other local people gathered around the Humvee, said Ahmed Fuad, a resident.

Some of the children were idly pelting the vehicle with rocks when the bomb hit, Fuad said.

Fuad was one of the fathers and brothers gathered under the funeral tent on Monday, as mothers and other female family members mourned in the privacy of their homes, in accordance with Islamic tradition. Fuad said the dead included his 4-year-old son, Saad Ahmed Fuad, and his 8-year-old daughter, Haifa Ahmed Fuad.

Fuad said he was unable to find one of the 8-year-old's legs and had to bury her without it.


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