Iraq: women, children killed in Ramadi fighting

The US denies it, of course, but the evidence seems pretty convincing. From AP, Feb. 23:

BAGHDAD – U.S. troops battled insurgents in fierce fighting that killed at least 12 people in the volatile Sunni city of Ramadi, the military said yesterday. Iraqi authorities said the dead included women and children.

The six-hour firefight began after U.S. troops were attacked by insurgents with small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades Wednesday evening, said Marine spokesman 1st Lt. Shawn Mercer.

It ended after “precision guided munitions” damaged a number of buildings being used by the insurgents. There were no U.S. casualties, but 12 insurgents were killed and three were wounded, Mercer said, adding there were no civilian casualties.

However, Dr. Hafidh Ibrahim of the Ramadi Hospital said 26 people, including four women and children, were killed when three houses were damaged in the fighting. Photographs showed the bodies of two small boys wrapped in one blanket, one with a bloody face, the other ashen and with mud on his mouth, his hands crossed on his chest. Other photos showed four or five bodies covered by blankets, and several men pulling at a pile of rubble and concrete bricks outside, apparently the wreckage of one of the destroyed houses.

Firefights are not unusual in Ramadi, provincial capital of Anbar, 75 miles west of Baghdad. The clashes underscore challenges posed by Sunni insurgents in the area even as the U.S. seeks to quell Sunni-Shia violence in the capital. Of the 21,500 more U.S. soldiers being sent to Iraq, 4,000 of them will be sent to Anbar, the rest to Baghdad.

See our last posts on Iraq and US atrocities.