The US raid on Tuesday night came a few hours after the beheading of South Korean citizen Kim Sun-Il who was captured near Falluja last Thursday.

Brigadier-General Mark Kimmitt confirmed the US strike was on a "known Zarqawi network" safe house. "Wherever and whenever we find elements of the Zarqawi network, we will attack them," he said, referring to al-Qaida-linked Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Witnesses said the air strike hit a car and truck garage. Iraqi police and US troops sealed off roads leading to the
scene of the attack, they said.

"There was an air strike that hit a car and truck garage near my home," said witness Muhawmish Hammadi.

"A warplane was in the area for 10 minutes and then it fired a rocket at the garage," he said. 

Meanwhile, five Iraqis have been killed in other incidents. 

Three were killed and another wounded after a car bomb exploded in west Baghdad on Tuesday.

Aljazeera's correspondent said the bodyguard of Adnan al-Janabi, an Iraqi minister, was among the dead.

The explosion, which took place in the al-Amiriyah district, damaged four vehicles. US occupations forces later cordoned off the areas.

In Khaldiyah, west of Baghdad, our correspondent said at least two Iraqis were killed in an attack targeting the Iraqi ministry of agriculture and irrigation.

 

Houses stormed

 

The correspondent quoted witnesses as saying more bodies were likely to be under the debris of the building which was levelled to the ground.

 

In Abu Ghraib, west of Baghdad, US forces stormed a number of houses and shops and detained three Iraqis.

 

One of the detainees accused the US occupation forces of dynamiting their house.

 

In a separate incident, a US military convoy was targeted in the central Iraqi city of Balad.

 

Our correspondent in the town said a US military spokesman confirmed the explosion without identifying the extent of the damage.

 

He added that US forces had closed all roads leading to the area.