Up to 60 killed as US targets 'rebel fighters'

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The Independent Online

Scores of Iraqis died today as US forces struck in Fallujah and a suicide bomber targeted a police convoy in Baghdad.

In Fallujah, US forces launched attacks in the Sunni insurgent stronghold and in nearby villages, killing at least 30 people and wounding 40 others, the military and hospital officials said.

The strikes began yesterday and stretched into today and targeted allies of terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, separate military statements and witnesses said.

Dr Ali Awad of the Fallujah General Hospital said 30 people were killed and more than 40 were injured, including women and children. But the US military said intelligence showed up to 60 suspected enemy fighters may have been killed.

US forces pulled out of Fallujah after a three-week siege in April that left hundreds dead and devastated much of the city. Since then, rebels have only tightened their grip on Fallujah.

In Baghdad, a suicide attacker detonated a car packed with explosives as a police convoy drove by. Early reports said that 14 people had been killed.

Six police cars were driving toward the central Rasheed Street when a car coming from Haifa Street drew up to them before exploding, said policeman Medhafar Ismail.