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At least 36 Iraqis killed in Falluja - Doctors
Updated: 2004-04-07 15:09

Fighting in the Iraqi town of Falluja has killed at least 36 civilians over the past day, doctors said on Wednesday, including 25 killed in a house destroyed in an attack that locals blamed on U.S. forces.

Witnesses said the house in the Sunni Muslim town, 50 km (32 miles) west of Baghdad, was hit by rockets fired by a U.S. helicopter on Tuesday night. A U.S. military spokeswoman in Baghdad said she had no information on the incident.

The house was reduced to rubble in the attack. Locals said four families had been sheltering there and that some victims were still buried in the debris.

U.S. Marines who took charge of the tense Sunni cities of Falluja and Ramadi last month have begun an operation aimed at hunting down guerrillas in the area.

"Operation Vigiliant Resolve" follows the killing of four U.S. private security guards in Falluja a week ago. After they were killed, a crowd of Iraqis set the bodies ablaze, mutilated them and hanged two of them from a bridge.

In Ramadi, around a dozen Marines were killed in fighting on Tuesday, U.S. officials said. On Monday, five Marines were killed in al-Anbar province that includes Ramadi and Falluja.

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