Seven civilians killed in US raid near Fallujah
At least seven Iraqi civilians were killed during a joint US-Iraqi raid in the outskirts of Fallujah on Wednesday, in the deadliest incident involving U.S. occupation troops since the United States declared an end to its combat operations in Iraq on Aug. 31.
Iraqi officials said eight civilians were killed, while the U.S. occupation military claimed four suspected members of al-Qaeda in Iraq and two civilians died in a firefight that erupted as forces tried to capture a presumed member of the group who allegedly was responsible for attacks in the region.
Despite the official end of the U.S. combat mission, about 4,500 U.S. Special Operations forces remain in Iraq.
Iraqi officials in Anbar province said U.S. and Iraqi troops began raiding houses at 3 a.m. in Jubil, about 30 miles west of Baghdad. Among the dead, they said, were a 70-year-old man and three of his sons, who were all asleep in their yard when they were killed by a grenade. A fourth son died at a hospital, the Iraqi officials said.
Troops also entered a second house in the area and killed Yaseen Kassar, a former Iraqi military commander, Iraqi officials said, as well as two people in a third house.
It was not immediately clear whether the troops had been looking for Kassar or any of the other people killed.
“The security situation in Fallujah may deteriorate because of what happened today,” said Abdulfattah Izghear, a local city council member. “We asked U.S. troops and the Iraqi government to explain this unjustified action and this naked aggression against civilians.”
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who is in charge of the Iraqi Special Forces, ordered an investigation into the incident, the state-run network al-Iraqiya reported.