Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Another Day, Another Boost To Iraqi Insurgents

FALLUJA - US warplanes killed a family of six in raids against rebels led by al Qaeda ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, while a top international aid agency suspended Iraq operations on Wednesday after its manager was kidnapped.

A Reuters witness saw a man and a woman and four children, two boys and two girls, being pulled out of the rubble of a razed home in the rebel-held city of Falluja, about 50km west of Baghdad.

The US military denied a family of six was killed, saying it launched four strikes against safehouses used by Zarqawi's fighters.

"Intelligence sources indicate a known Zarqawi propagandist is passing false reports to the media," it said in a statement.

Reuters television footage showed men chanting "There is no God but Allah!" as they carried the body of the father of the family of six.

"Is this the gift that (interim Iraqi Prime Minister) Iyad Allawi is giving to the people of Falluja?" asked one man, pointing to the small bodies of two of the children lying in the trunk of a car. "Every day they strike Falluja."

At least eight civilians were killed and 11 US soldiers wounded in clashes in Samarra, a northern town the US military said it had pacified following an offensive earlier this month.

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