Iraqi doctors and neighbours in the Sunni Arab city of Ramadi accused
U.S. troops of killing children in a missile strike on Thursday but the military
said no civilians, only eight insurgents, were killed.
Local television footage showed the body of a boy lying in the rubble
of a house. Hospital and police officials gave death tolls ranging from five
to 13, with up to another 15 wounded.
Muhannad al-Fahadawi, a doctor at the main hospital, said two girls and a boy
aged 8 were among at least 11 people he believed had been killed in the violence.
A teenage girl was shown to reporters being treated for wounds in the hospital.
The U.S. military said: "Coalition forces killed eight insurgents when
they responded to an insurgent attack in central Ramadi... There were no Coalition
or civilian casualties."
Describing the incident, a statement said: "Marines ... were attacked
multiple times with rocket-propelled grenades, medium machinegun fire and small
arms fire from a building ..."
"Coalition forces responded with small arms fire, heavy machinegun fire,
grenades and precision-guided munitions."
Disputes over the identities of those killed in U.S. attacks are not uncommon.
U.S. commanders say they go out of their way to avoid civilian casualties and
accuse rebels of intentionally operating from crowded neighbourhoods. Many Iraqis
say U.S. forces do not take enough care to avoid killing civilians.
"The American troops struck a house with two missiles in Maysaloon Street,
then followed them with a third," said one man at the scene, who declined
to be named for fear of reprisal.
"They brought the house down on people's heads."
"Is this the democracy that Bush wants? This is terrorism,"
he said, venting popular anger at U.S. President George W. Bush.
Ramadi, 110 km (70 miles) west of Baghdad and the capital of the mainly Sunni
Arab desert province of Anbar, has seen much rebel activity over the past three
The U.S. military said American and Iraqi forces killed more than 100 insurgents
in Anbar last week. The provincial governor survived a suicide car bomb attack
on his motorcade by rebels in central Ramadi on Tuesday that left 10 other people