Brigadier Nuri Abudi, a member of the Falluja Brigade entrusted by the US occupation with imposing security in the city, said evidence showed the destroyed building was the home of an extended Iraqi family. 


"We inspected the damage, we looked through the bodies of the women and children and elderly. This was a family," he said on Sunday.


"There is no sign of foreigners having lived in the house. Zarqawi and his men have no presence in Falluja," he said, referring to Abu Mussab Zarqawi.   


US warplanes launched a fierce strike in the city, some 50km west of the capital, early on Saturday, leaving 22 people dead. Residents said women and children were killed in the attack.

US Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt claimed that there was "significant intelligence" that members of Zarqawi's network were in the house, but there was no evidence Zarqawi himself was there.


Fragile truce 


Zarqawi, who Washington claims is a top al-Qaida leader in Iraq, is accused of masterminding a number of attacks against the occupation.

 

Iraqi police insisted there are no
signs of al-Qaida in Falluja

Falluja police chief Colonel Sadr al-Janabi criticised the occupation's attack, saying it was a "destabilising" move. 
 
"This was an attack on a family in a house and it killed all
of them. There are no signs that people like Zarqawi were in the house or in Falluja," he said. "This attack was conducted without any coordination with us." 

Falluja, which has strongly resisted the occupation, has been relatively quiet since the Falluja Brigade took over from US occupation forces and a ceasefire was brokered between the two sides. 

In April, hundreds of Iraqis - mainly civilians - were killed in fierce US bombardments after four American security contractors were killed outside the city. Fierce fighting erupted between the occupation and resistance for weeks before a truce, brokered by the Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS), ended the battles.