The attack took place in the small town of Qaim in Iraq's western desert bordering Syria early on Tuesday, reported Aljazeera's correspondent. APTN syndicated footage of a mass grave being filled with the casualties, including children.

Distraught family members struggled to wrap their loved ones in shrouds, according to Islamic tradition, before burying them.

The International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) condemned the excessive use of force by the US occupation following the attack.

"Even if (you came under) fire, there are rules of proportion in retaliation and the absolute need to prevent civilian casualties," said ICRC spokesperson in Baghdad Nada Dumani.

More embarrassment

US occupation authorities-reeling from the prison abuse scandal in which US soldiers are accused of sexually humiliating and torturing Iraqi prisoners-denied they had targeted a wedding.

More pain: Iraqis continue to
suffer under the occupation

Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, deputy director of operations for the US military in Iraq, told Aljazeera that the occupation had "intelligence" that there was no wedding taking place at the time.

Kimmit said the warplanes targeted a "safe house" for foreign fighters. Residents of the small town said 31 members from a single family had been killed. Another five people are in critical condition.

Bodies were also filmed being unloaded in the largest nearest town, Ramadi.

It is unclear if gunfire was fired at the wedding - a tradition in the Arab world as a form of celebration - which prompted US fire.

In July 2002, an American air strike on an Afghan wedding party killed 48 civilians. It is also a tradition in the Central Asian nation to fire gunshots in a show of jubilation.