AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.Iraqi police and hospital officials, who often overstate casualties, reported only 15 deaths including three children. Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said all the dead were civilians. Al-Dabbagh said on CNN that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, had met with the U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, to protest the action. Associated Press photos showed the bodies of two toddlers, one with a gouged face, swaddled in blankets on a morgue floor. Their shirts were pulled up, exposing their abdomens, and a diaper showed above the waistband of one boy’s shorts. Relatives said the children were killed when helicopter gunfire hit their house as they slept. One local resident said some of the casualties were people sleeping on roofs to seek relief from the heat and lack of electricity. The Iraqi officials said 52 were wounded in the raid on the sprawling district. The U.S. military said it was not aware of any civilian casualties, and the discrepancy in the death tolls and accounts of what happened could not be reconciled. American commanders reported no U.S. casualties. IRAQ: Attack that some say killed children was part of a raid to capture a rogue militia chief. By Steven R. Hurst THE ASSOCIATED PRESS BAGHDAD – The U.S. military said its forces killed an estimated 49 militants during a dawn raid to capture an Iranian-linked militia chief in Baghdad’s Sadr City enclave, one of the highest tolls for a single operation since President Bush declared an end to active combat in 2003. The raid on the dangerous Shiite slum was aimed at capturing an alleged rogue militia chief, one of thousands of fighters who have broken with Muqtada al-Sadr’s mainstream Mahdi Army. The military did not say if the man was captured. He was also not named. The Shiite cleric has ordered gunmen loyal to him to put down their arms. But thousands of followers dissatisfied with being taken out of the fight have formed a loose confederation armed and trained by Iran. The U.S. operation was the latest in a series that has produced significant death tolls, including civilians, as American forces increasingly take the fight to Sunni insurgents, al-Qaida militants and Shiite militiamen. The intensity and frequency of American attacks and raids have grown since the arrival of the last of 30,000 additional soldiers on June 15.The reinforcements were ordered into Iraq earlier this year by Bush and have inflicted a heavy toll on militants on both sides of Iraq’s sectarian divide. American commanders credit the troop buildup for a sharp drop in the number of attacks and deaths of U.S. soldiers and Iraqi civilians. In the Sadr City raid, the U.S. military said forces killed “an estimated 49 criminals” in three linked attacks during an intelligence-driven raid to capture the rogue Shiite kidnapper who was partially funded by Iran. U.S. troops returned fire under attack from automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades from nearby buildings as they began raiding structures in the district, according to a statement. It said 33 militants were killed in the firefight. Ground forces then called in helicopter airstrikes, which killed six more militants. As American soldiers left the zone, troops were hit by a roadside bomb and continued heavy fire, killing 10 more combatants. A local resident who goes by the name Abu Fatmah said his neighbor’s 14-year-old son, was killed while sleeping on the roof. He “was killed by an airstrike and what is his guilt? Is he from the Mahdi Army? He is a poor student,” Abu Fatmah said. An Iraqi military spokesman, Brig. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi, said the government would ask the Americans for an explanation of Sunday’s raid and stressed the need to avoid civilian deaths. The government has issued mixed reactions to the raids and airstrikes, particularly those that have targeted Sunni extremists. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
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