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U.S. Raid Kills Family North of Baghdad

Iraqis search for the bodies of victims of a U.S. airstrike in Baiji, about 150 miles north of Baghdad. The dead included women and children whose bodies were recovered in nightclothes.
Iraqis search for the bodies of victims of a U.S. airstrike in Baiji, about 150 miles north of Baghdad. The dead included women and children whose bodies were recovered in nightclothes. (By Bassim Daham -- Associated Press)

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As American forces cordoned off the site Tuesday morning, the Post special correspondent witnessed emergency workers carrying out the bodies of the three boys on the thin mattresses where they had been found. Search crews used blankets to wrap up the bodies.

Emergency workers also retrieved the bodies of three women -- a bloodied older woman whose head was wrapped in a black veil and two younger women whose hair was uncovered and who were dressed for bed. The head of one of the two young women was crushed.

"I would certainly think that if they believe they had strong intelligence about enemy activity they would want to confirm that they had killed their intended targets and want to understand if they had killed or injured innocent people inadvertently," said Sarah Sewall, who was deputy assistant secretary of defense for peacekeeping and humanitarian aid during the Clinton administration. She is now program director at Harvard University's Carr Center for Human Rights Policy.

Separately Tuesday, top Iraqi police officials in the southern city of Basra said an Iranian citizen was among three men detained in a raid Sunday that uncovered a large amount of arms and explosives. One of the officials said some of the seized ordnance had markings showing it to had been made in Iran. The raid was in Nashwa, east of Basra, near the Iran-Iraq border.

The ordnance included 235 sticks of dynamite, as well as artillery and mortar shells and antitank mines, officials said.

U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad recently warned Iran against sending weapons into Iraq. A top U.S. military official, who spoke on condition that he not be identified further, had said repeatedly that weapons and guerrillas were entering Iraq from Iran.

Specific accounts of such smuggling seldom emerge. Police and officials in southern areas bordering Iran, and in the Interior Ministry in Baghdad, are predominantly Shiites. Many are members of religious political parties with links to Iran, a Shiite theocracy.

In northern Iraq, meanwhile, Kurdish regional leader Massoud Barzani held post-election talks with Sunni Arab leaders, telling reporters after the meeting that "we have agreed on a national unity government." Negotiations on the makeup of a coalition government will continue in Baghdad, Barzani said.

In Baghdad, however, spokesmen in the Shiite religious alliance that early results show netted the biggest share of votes in last month's election said the alliance would accept only coalition partners that favored federalism and strong measures against members of the Baath Party that ruled Iraq under Saddam Hussein.

The measures would be antithetical to most prospective Sunni coalition partners, however. Their members come from the Sunni minority that lost power with the overthrow of Hussein's government.

Also in Baghdad Tuesday, police said a sister of Interior Minister Bayan Jabr, a Shiite, had been kidnapped, but Jabr's political party denied the abduction had occurred. Parts of central Baghdad were locked down as police searched for the woman.

Aldin reported from Baiji.

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