They just got a different tool to use than we do: They kill innocent lives to achieve objectives. That's what they do. And they're good. They get on the TV screens and they get people to ask questions about, well, you know, this, that or the other. I mean, they're able to kind of say to people: Don't come and bother us, because we will kill you. Bush - Joint News Conference with Blair - 28 July '06

Thursday, September 06, 2007

US strikes in Baghdad kill 14 sleeping civilians

US combat helicopters and tanks bombarded a Baghdad neighbourhood in pre-dawn strikes on Thursday, killing 14 sleeping civilians and destroying houses, angry residents and Iraqi officials said.

... raqi defence and interior ministry officials said US helicopters fired on houses in the Al-Washash neighbourhood of Mansour district in west Baghdad between 2.00 am and 3.00 am.

"The attacks on the houses took place while people were sleeping. There were no clashes. The area had been quiet," said an interior ministry official who did not want to be named.

At least 10 people were wounded and were admitted to the nearby Al-Yarmuk hospital.

"Two to five houses were destroyed. Among the wounded are several women," the official said.

Abu Ali Saad, a resident of the mainly Shiite Al-Washash enclave in the middle of the Sunni-majority Mansour neighbourhood, said US military vehicles had arrived in large numbers during the night.

"There were tanks and armoured vehicles and many troops," 35-year-old Saad told AFP while surveying the rubble of his neighbour's house.

"The tanks started firing then the helicopters came. Missiles were fired from the air. Houses were destroyed. A family of five were killed in this house," he said, referring to his neighbours.

"We are a peaceful neighbourhood. There are no militia here. There were no exchanges of fire. We were all sleeping."

An AFP photographer on the scene said three houses were destroyed and two damaged.

Amid the rubble of one house was a mattress covered in blood with human body parts scattered around. Neighbours said a family of six had been killed in the house, including a 12-year-old girl.

Bloodstains could also be seen amid the wreckage of the other houses, where angry residents gathered to denounce the US military.

"They prevented me from trying to get two of my wounded neighbours to hospital," said Ammar Assem. "They fired on my car when I tried to leave the area. I had to go back."

A US military statement said Iraqi and US forces had engaged Shiite extremists militants who were part of a "terrorist cell" operating in Al-Washash. Link