Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Iraq Sunnis accuse US of "atrocity" over raids

Iraq's main Sunni religious grouping accused U.S. forces on Monday of killing 25 civilians in raids near Baghdad in the past two days, rejecting the U.S. account that only suspected insurgents had died.

"We hold the Iraqi government and the occupiers responsible for this brutal atrocity," the Muslim Clerics Association said in a statement.

The U.S. military earlier on Monday said its forces had killed more than 41 insurgents in and around the villages of Latifiya and Yusifiya, south of the capital, on Saturday and Sunday. It also said a U.S. helicopter was shot down, killing two soldiers.

Two separate U.S. statements on the air and ground raids did not mention any civilian deaths, but said several women and children were wounded.

The U.S. military says al Qaeda's leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, uses the area as a staging ground for suicide attacks in Baghdad. It says he aims to incite a sectarian civil war between majority Shi'ites and minority Sunnis.

The Sunni association accused U.S. forces of attacking civilian houses and killing people as they tried to flee.

Read the full article Here.


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