Mon, Jul 19, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Allawi OK's US airstrike on Fallujah that kills 14

AP , BAGHDAD

A US airstrike yesterday on a Fallujah neighborhood previously targeted by US forces destroyed a house and killed 14 people, hospital and local officials said.

Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's office said he had given the go-ahead for the attack. US officials declined to provide details of the strike.

The strike was the sixth on the city since June 19. In previous strikes, the US said it was targeting safehouses used by the network of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian militant blamed for masterminding car bombings and other attacks in Iraq.

"The multinational force asked Prime Minister Allawi for permission to launch strikes on some specific places where some terrorists were hiding," an official in Allawi's office said yesterday on condition of anonymity. "Allawi gave his permission."

Explosions from the strike yesterday morning rocked the city. Dozens of people ran to the scene and dug through the wreck-age looking for survivors. One witness, who declined to give his name, said the house belonged to a "very poor family." Angry crowds gathered around the hit house, chanting "God is great."

The attack killed 14 people and injured three, according to Saad al-Amili, a Health Ministry official.

In their continuing effort to quash the insurgency, US forces said yesterday they had detained a senior commander of Saddam's elite Republican Guard, who was suspected of planning and financing attacks against Iraqis, Iraqi security forces and coalition troops.

Iraqi national guardsmen and coalition forces captured Sufyan Maher Hassan in a raid in Tikrit on Friday. He was being held at a local multinational force detention facility, said Major Neal O'Brien of the 1st Infantry Division.

Meanwhile, two car bombs targeting police exploded in the city of Tikrit yesterday morning, killing two police officers and wounding five others, Iraqi authorities said.

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