Victims of the dawn raid (0100 GMT) were rushed to Falluja's general hospital on Thursday where Dr Abd al-Hakim al-Badrani confirmed the civilian toll.

A local journalist, Abu Bakr al-Dulaimi, said a home in the Dhubat district had been completely flattened.

He told Aljazeera the bombing killed "a father, mother and their two children" and had created a sense of mass outrage in the city.

 

"The home was in the centre of a residential area, crowded with people. We have not seen any armed manifestations or armed men. And neighbouring families deny the presence of any armed men and any connection to them."

 

But a US army communique - that made no mention of the dead or injured - said missiles had targeted a "terrorist safe house" run by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and had inflicted "yet another blow" to his network.

US statement

However, in what may be the closest admission to killing innocent civilians, a senior US army official said: "There's always a chance ... criminal elements use facilities or weapons storage sites that are in close proximity to Iraqi people." 

Two Fallujan children were pulled
from rubble alive on Sunday

Raids on Falluja have become almost daily occurrences and each time the US military says they are aimed at safe houses of al-Zarqawi.

Al-Dulaimi told Aljazeera that a US air strike on Wednesday near a checkpoint in the Saqlawia between Falluja and Ramadi threw a civilian car into the nearby river.

 

"Not one member of the family aboard the car survived ... five children and two women ... died drowning in the river.

 

"Witnesses and Iraqi police said US forces at the scene prevented people from rescuing the seven civilians who died drowning in the river," he added.

 

Deadly raids

 

The last bombing on the city killed three people according to medics and locals who dug through the rubble, although the US military denied there were any casualties.

On Saturday, the US military pounded the city relentlessly, killing 15 people and wounding a further 33.

Doctors said many of the victims were women and children.