Dozens of Iraqi civilians killed in major US offensive on two cities
U.S. occupation forces and their Iraqi allies launched a major offensive Thursday against resistance forces in various parts of the country. Dozens of Iraqis were reported killed.
In the city of Fallujah, U.S. jets bombed civilian houses for a third straight day Thursday, killing at least 12 people in the town located about 50 kilometers west of Baghdad, officials said.
According to The AP, the US military said intelligence showed that three associates of Jordanian-born activist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi were in the area when jets unleashed the strike.
Dr. Ahmad Thair of the Fallujah General Hospital said at least two women and five children were killed, and nine others were wounded in the raid.
At one house destroyed by US missiles, locals recovered five bodies out of the rubble, AFP reported. Witnesses said the family who lived in the house was sleeping on the roof when the missile struck.
Meanwhile, U.S. and Iraqi forces launched attacks on alleged resistance positions Thursday in northern Iraq, killing at least 57 "insurgents," the US Army said. "The operations are intended to restore interim government control in Tal Afar," some 50 kilometers west of Mosul, the American military said. It added the attacks started after negotiations between Nineveh Gov. Duraid Kashmoula and local leaders failed to bring stability to the region.
Nineveh province health chief Dr. Rabie Yassin, however, said 27 civilians died and 70 were wounded. Yassin accused American forces of refusing to allow ambulances and medical staff to enter the city.
Elsewhere, American and Iraqi forces moved into the central city of Samarra for the first time in months to try to re-seat the city council and regain control. U.S. Humvees and armored vehicles were seen entering the city as two U.S. helicopters hovered overhead. (albawaba.com)
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