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Air strikes kill 17 civilians: report



COALITION air strikes on the southern city of Basra killed 17 Iraqi civilians, including nine children, Arabic news channel al-Jazeera has reported.

The channel's correspondent said the funeral of 15 people, who were part of the same family, took place in Basra this afternoon.

He said the people were killed when missiles hit eight houses in Basra, a predominately Shi'ite Muslim city of 1.5 million.

The US-led coalition said today it had bombed the Basra residence of Saddam Hussein's cousin and top aide, Ali Hassan al-Majid, known as "Chemical Ali" for his ruthless campaign against the Kurds in 1988.

Two coalition aircraft struck the building with "laser-guided munitions", US Central Command said in a statement.


Basra has been surrounded for nearly two weeks by British troops, who are steadily picking away at loyalist forces inside the city.






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