The US military said it had killed 10 fighters in the Hsaiba area near the Syrian border, in the latest military operation.

But residents and witnesses told Aljazeera that all the dead were civilians.

 

Speaking to Aljazeera, Iraqi journalist Atwar Bahjat said US forces pounded the area with heavy artillery.

Many homes and businesses have been destroyed during the shelling, she said.

Residents and witnesses are enraged by the destruction caused by the shelling and confirmed that all those killed in the latest assault were civilians, not fighters, she added.


Sporadic violence


In a separate incident, a car explosion in the al-Huwaidir area near Baquba killed more than 40 people, police said.

Police said an assistant manager at Iraq's North Oil Company in Kirkuk was shot and killed on Saturday by a group of armed men.


In Baghdad, a police colonel was killed on Saturday when armed men attacked his house in northern Baghdad. His bodyguard was also killed and his wife and nephew were wounded in the incident.

Ghalib Abd al-Mahdi's driver was
killed in the Baghdad attack

Still in Baghdad, an adviser to the Cabinet escaped an attempt on his life in northern Baghdad, police said. Ghalib Abd al-Mahdi was wounded and his driver killed.

 

In Mahmudia, just south of Baghdad, a civilian was killed and three wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near an oil truck, police said.

   

On the political front, the Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq (AMS) has decided to boycott the up-coming elections, Bahjat reported.

 

The AMS is an influential organisation and enjoys widespread support which could influence the outcome of the polls, she said.

Observers in Iraq have stressed the necessity of participation in the voting process, Bahjat said.