Sat, Jul 24, 2004 - Page 1 News List

US bombs Iraqi safe house


American forces launched a "precision strike" yesterday on insurgents tied to Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in the restive western Iraqi city of Fallujah, the US military said.

The military said in a statement sent to reporters that the attack was conducted in coordination with the Iraqi government.

"Based on multiple sources of intelligence, the attack targeted 10-12 terrorists with known ties to the Abu Musab al-Zarqawi network of foreign terrorists," the statement said.

"The anti-Iraqi forces were struck while in the courtyard of a house; the house was left intact," the statement added.

In what appeared to be the same incident, Kamal Al-Ani, of Fallujah hospital, said five civilians -- including three children -- were injured yesterday morning after an American warplane fired a missile that landed in the garden of a house in the Jubail neighborhood, south of Fallujah. The US military reported no casualties.

"We were sleeping in the morning when a US missile hit our house," said Saddam Jassim, the owner of the house targeted in the attack, said as he and his brother were clearing debris caused by the missile attack.

"We have nothing to do with resistance or al-Zarqawi. These are pretext used by US military to terrorize the people in Fallujah because US soldiers are unable to face the insurgents."

Meanwhile, interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said on Thursday that Iraq would like Arab and Islamic countries to contribute soldiers to a UN security contingent as well as the multinational force.

Allawi told reporters he had asked the Egypt to provide troops to protect UN staff when they return to Iraq, but Egyptian officials indicated that Iraq should first bring its insurgency under control.

The Egyptian response, the latest of repeated rebuffs, came a day after UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said the world body had not received a single commitment of troops for an Iraqi operation.

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