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Wednesday April 2, 12:56 AM

Bombings kill 48 more civilians south of Baghdad


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Forty-eight more civilians, including women and children, have been killed and 310 wounded in US-British bombings around this town south of Baghdad in the last 24 hours, a hospital director revealed.

The deaths brought to 73 the number of Iraqi civilians who have died under allied bombings since Monday.

Thirty-three civilians, including women and children, were killed and 310 wounded in a coalition bombing on the southern province of Babylon on Tuesday morning, a hospital director said.

Murtada Abbas said the bombing targeted the Nader residential area at the southern outskirts of the farming town of Hilla, 80 kilometres (50 miles) south of the capital.

He was speaking at the Hilla hospital where a large number of children lay wounded under blankets on the floor due to a shortage of beds.

At the scene of the bombing, dozens of what seemed to be parts of cluster bombs equipped with small parachutes were peppered over a large area, an AFP correspondent at the site said.

Iraqi soldiers were seen collecting the debris, which witnesses said coalition warplanes had dropped over the neighborhood. The soldiers poured fuel on the bombs before setting them on fire to explode the ordnance.

Dozens of homes were destroyed in the bombing that also killed donkeys and chickens, the correspondent said.

Fifteen members of a family were killed late Monday when their pickup truck was blown up by a rocket from a US Apache helicopter in the region of Haidariya near Hilla, the sole survivor of the attack told AFP on Tuesday.

Razek al-Kazem al-Khafaji said he lost his wife, six children, his father, his mother, his three brothers and their wives.

Khafaji, sitting among the 15 coffins at the local hospital, said the family was fleeing fierce fighting in Nasiriya, further south, when they were targetted by a US helicopter in Haidariya.

US troops admitted killing seven women and children when they opened fire Monday on a civilian vehicle at a military checkpoint manned by the US Army's Third Infantry Division at Najaf, 150 kilometers (95 miles) south of Baghdad.

On Monday, eighteen civilians were also killed in coalition bombings on Baghdad, according to Information Minister Mohammad Said al-Sahhaf.

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