In one of the war's largest losses of civilian life in a US operation, a raid north of Baghdad yesterday killed 9 Iraqi children and 6 women. Nineteen suspected insurgents also died in the air and ground strike, which targeted a meeting of senior al-Qaeda leaders, BBC reports. The US blamed the insurgents for putting the civilians in danger.
An American spokesman voiced regret for the deaths but added: "These terrorists chose to deliberately place innocent Iraqi women and children in danger by their actions and presence." United Nations officials, however, have previously expressed concern about the high civilian casualty rate in attacks by US-led forces. The US military is currently "reviewing information from the scene," said a spokesman.