Wary Iraqis Probe US Raid on Sadr City

Civilian casualties in firefight stir charges of excessive force
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 22, 2007 11:31 AM CDT
Brothers Erfan Falesh, left, and Chaloob Falesh, right, are visited in the hospital after being injured in an overnight raid in the Shiite enclave of Sadr City in Baghdad, Iraq on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2007....   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Iraqi officials are sorting through conflicting reports of an American raid in the Baghdad Shiite enclave of Sadr City yesterday that the US military said killed 49 "criminals" and Iraqis said left 17 people dead, including an elderly woman and several babies, and many wounded. The civilian casualties provoked another round of charges that the American military uses excessive force; PM Nuri al-Maliki met with Gen. David Petraeus to protest the killings, CNN reported.

Asked about the discrepancy in casualty counts, US military officials told the New York Times that insurgents removed the bodies of their own people to prevent Americans from gaining intelligence about them. The firefight erupted when US forces seeking an Iraqi believed to be in charge of what they called "an Iranian-backed kidnapping ring" came under heavy fire; the operation failed to capture the man.