Dr Ahmad Ibrahim, the assistant director of the city's paediatric hospital, told Aljazeera on Saturday that the soldiers entered the hospital on Friday after an explosion on Ramadi's main road.

The soldiers ordered medical staff and patients to leave, he said, before destroying the hospital's doors and detaining members of staff.

Ibrahim said the forces stormed an operating theatre where a doctor was carrying out caesarean surgery.

They initially ordered the doctor to leave, he said, but when she told them the mother's life was at risk they allowed her to carry out the surgery under guard.

The assistant director also said US troops raided Ramadi and Haditha general hospitals a few days ago, and questioned whether doctors had become military targets and if the raids were aimed at closing hospitals.

He also called on every "honourable Iraqi official" to immediately take action to stop such operations.