US kills 49 in dawn raid on insurgents

Other News Materials 23 October 2007 04:39 (UTC +04:00)

(Irish Independent) US ground forces and attack helicopters yesterday inflicted one of the highest single-operation death tolls since the end of active combat in Iraq, killing an estimated 49 militants during a dawn raid to capture an Iranian-linked militia chief in Baghdad's Sadr City .

Iraqi police and hospital officials, who often overstate casualties, reported only 15 deaths including a woman and three children.

Associated Press photos showed the bodies of two toddlers, one with a gouged face, swaddled in blankets on a morgue floor. Their shirts were pulled up, exposing their abdomens, and a nappy showed above the waistband of one boy's shorts. Relatives said the children were killed when helicopter gunfire hit their house as they slept.

One local resident said some of the casualties were people sleeping on roofs to seek relief from the heat and lack of electricity. Iraqi officials said 52 were wounded in the raid.