Thursday, February 22, 2007

U.S. says 12 militants killed in 6-hour Ramadi battle, but dead include infant, child

Villagers search for survivors while sifting through the rubble of building destroyed in the firefight in Ramadi.

RAMADI, Iraq, Feb 22 (Reuters) - U.S. forces killed at least 12 insurgents and wounded three others in a six-hour gunbattle in Ramadi involving heavy machineguns, rocket-propelled grenades and air strikes, the U.S. military said on Thursday.

Residents in Ramadi said three buildings were destroyed in the clashes. A civil defence official and an ambulance driver, both of whom declined to be identified, said as many as 26 people were killed, including some women and children.

A Reuters photographer saw the bodies of an infant and a young boy who had been pulled from the rubble of one of the demolished buildings. At least one other body, which appeared to be that of an adult, was wrapped in a blanket.

"We have no reports of civilian casualties and there were no coalition casualties," said Lieutenant Shawn Mercer, a spokesman for U.S. Marines operating in western Iraq.

Read the rest at Reuters/Alternet

Related Link:
Report: Insurgents in Ramadi attempt a surge of their own