Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Many Iraqis feared dead in US attacks

US warplanes have continued bombarding the west of Iraq and hospital sources say at least 40 people were killed in the latest offensive. The heavy bombardment began early on Monday morning at about 2am (1100 GMT)Iraqi journalist Mahmud al-Rawi has said.

Witnesses said among the dead in al-Baida were people who had fled nearby Hsaiba to seek refuge with relatives after their village had been the focus of a US fighter jet air raid three days ago.

A hospital doctor in al-Qaim town confirmed that 40 people had been killed and 20 wounded, many of them women and children. A tribal leader said there were no fighters in the area.

US warplanes supported by ground forces had bombarded Hsaiba destroying six homes, al-Rawi reported. "While we were trying to attend to the wounded, US fighter planes began bombing the place again," he said We appeal to the Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq (AMS) to help us as we are being killed in large numbers," he added. "Where is the AMS? Where are the humanitarian organisations?" al-Rawi said.

He told Aljazeera that the area had been cut off by US forces, who had blocked roads preventing people from leaving the village and going to al-Qaim. Al-Rawi reiterated that US fighters and Apache helicopters had been pounding Hsaiba on an almost daily basis.

"They are turning this town into another Falluja," he said.

US statement

According to the US military, the army is targeting al-Qaida fighters in the region with precision-guided missiles. A military statement mentioned no casualties and did not identify the al-Qaida in Iraq leader by name.


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