American Forces Press Service
Oct. 12, 2007 - A coalition air strike yesterday that killed terrorists also claimed the lives of a large number of innocent victims, military officials said. During an operation to pursue senior al Qaeda leaders in the Lake Thar Thar region, troops encountered small-arms fire from the target building. Responding in self-defense, coalition aircraft engaged the enemies inside the building.
After the air strike, ground forces discovered that 15 terrorists, six women and nine children had been killed. Troops determined that two suspects, one woman and three children also were wounded. Ground forces also detained one suspected terrorist after the strike.
Coalition force medical experts administered treatment to those injured, who were later taken to a nearby military facility for further aid.
A Multinational Force Iraq statement issued today said coalition forces are investigating the incident, which is a standard practice with all incidents involving civilian injuries or deaths.
"We are working closely with local Iraqi officials and tribal leaders to ascertain and provide a full accounting of events. We are further committed to ensuring the needs of those affected are thoroughly respected and provided for," the statement said.
Army Maj. Brad Leighton, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman, lamented the civilian victims.
"We regret that civilians are hurt or killed while coalition forces search to rid Iraq of terrorism," he said. "These terrorists chose to deliberately place innocent Iraqi women and children in danger by their actions and presence."
(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq news releases.)