Twenty people were killed and four houses were demolished on Monday by US air raids over al-Fakhirya village near al-Yusifiya, south of Baghdad, sources told Aljazeera.

Elsewhere, an Iraqi was killed and seven others were injured in an explosion that also damaged a US vehicle in al-Radwania district, south of Baghdad.

In other developments, four members of the Iraqi national guard were killed and seven others were injured after their patrol was attacked by fighters on Baghdad International Airport highway west of the capital, medical sources told Aljazeera.

Following the attack, US forces encircled the site while helicopters carried the dead and the injured to Yarmuk hospital in Baghdad.  

Another member of the Iraqi national guard was killed and four others were injured in an attack against an Iraqi checkpoint in al-Ghalibya area, west of Baquba.

Children attacked

Meanwhile, an Iraqi child was killed and eight others were injured, four seriously, when a US missile landed in the Abu Ghraib district west of Baghdad while the children were playing, sources told Aljazeera.

Although Iraqi police sources say the missile was of US origin, US forces have not commented on the incident. 

Earlier, a mortar bomb exploded in the al-Adhamiya district of Baghdad on Monday, leaving one person dead and seven others injured, medical sources said.

At the same time, a series of explosions rocked central Baghdad. Columns of white smoke rose near the Green Zone, the heavily-fortified area housing the US embassy and Iraq's interim government.

US bombs Falluja

A US air strike destroyed an anti-aircraft weapon outside Falluja late on Monday, a US marine spokesman said, as US tanks also shelled parts of the city, witnesses said.

"There was a hit on an anti-aircraft weapon that was outside the city. We found it and we fired at it. It posed a threat to aircraft in the airspace," said marine spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel TV Johnson. 

An AFP correspondent in Falluja reported hearing eight
explosions south of the city late on Monday just before midnight. Jets were still flying overhead, he said. 

Earlier, fighters shot down an unmanned aircraft in Falluja. The drone was paraded through the streets on a pick-up truck. 

US marines confirmed a drone crashed around the city.