Reports: U.S. raids on Sadr City kill 26; Iraqis say U.S. bombed without warning, many civilians killed, wounded; Maliki condemns
Above and Left: Homes in Baghdad's Sadr City bear the after-effects of today's raid
U.S. kills 26 militants in Baghdad
U.S. troops killed about 26 suspected militants in Baghdad's Sadr City on Saturday in one of the fiercest clashes in the Shi'ite stronghold since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
Residents of the east Baghdad slum district, a bastion of fiery Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and his Mehdi Army militia, said the fighting lasted six hours and involved helicopter-fired missile strikes.
The U.S. military said American forces staged two separate raids into Sadr City targeting militants suspected of close ties to "Iranian terror networks" and who were responsible for bringing Iranian weapons into Iraq.
"Coalition Forces killed an estimated 26 terrorists and detained 17 suspected secret cell terrorists during the two operations," a U.S. military statement said. There were no civilian casualties, the U.S. military said separately.
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U.S. Raids Baghdad Slum; 26 Iraqis Die
The U.S. military said it conducted two pre-dawn raids in Sadr City...
Witnesses said U.S. forces rolled into their neighborhood before dawn and opened fire without warning.
"At about 4 a.m., a big American convoy with tanks came and began to open fire on houses -- bombing them," said Basheer Ahmed, who lives in Sadr City's Habibiya district. "What did we do? We didn't even retaliate -- there was no resistance."
According to Iraqi officials, the dead included three members of one family -- a father, mother and son. Several women and children, along with two policemen, were among the wounded, they said...
Houses, a bakery and some other shops were damaged by U.S. tank fire during the assault, Iraqi officials said. In the Shiite holy city of Najaf, Sheik Salah al-Obaidi, a spokesman for al-Sadr condemned Saturday's raids: "The bombing hurt only innocent civilians."
A policeman wounded in the raid, Montadhar Kareem, said he was on night duty when U.S. troops moved in and "began bombing houses in the area."
"The bombing became more intense, and I was injured by shrapnel in both my legs and in my left shoulder," Kareem said from a gurney at Al Sadr General Hospital.
Read the rest at the LA Times
Iraq condemns U.S. raid; 26 Iraqis killed
BAGHDAD — American soldiers rolled into Baghdad's Shiite Sadr City slum today in search of Iranian-linked militants and as many as 26 Iraqis were killed in what a U.S. officer described as "an intense firefight"...
The assault brought quick criticism from al-Maliki. "The Iraqi government totally rejects U.S. military operations ... conducted without a pre-approval from the Iraqi military command," al-Maliki said in a statement released by his office. "Anyone who breaches the military command orders will face investigation."
Read the rest at the Houston Chronicle
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