Earlier on Tuesday, another doctor at the hospital, Kamal al-Ani, said 30 bodies were brought in from al-Dhubat district, along with 17 wounded.

In one part of the district, a Reuters reporter saw several bodies of adult men still lying in a street, some being placed in coffins by relatives, and a number of body parts. One small structure was burnt-out in that street.

Local residents, who declined to be named for fear of reprisals, said US tanks had fired into the area and that those who died were not fighters.

They criticised the US forces and Shia-led Iraqi government. Several said young men gathered to play a traditional street game had been attacked.

Baghdad blast

Tuesday saw several deadly attacks in the Iraqi capital. A car bomb ripped through a crowded market area in Rasheed Street in central Baghdad, killing 10 people and wounding 25, police said.

Mortars killed four people and wounded six in al-Zuhur, in the city's northern outskirts.

A bomb inside a bus station in eastern Baghdad killed two people and wounded 10, interior ministry sources said.

A car bomb in Sadr City, a Shia district in eastern Baghdad, killed two people and wounded 21, police said.

Diyala killings

In other violence, assailants killed seven passengers and wounded two others aboard a minivan ambushed on Tuesday near Mandali along the Iranian border, 100km east of Baghdad, the Diyala provincial police spokesman's office said.

The bombing in Rasheed Street was just one of
several that shook Baghdad on Tuesday

Also in Diyala, two policemen were killed and seven wounded when their patrol was attacked at about 8.30am (0530 GMT) in a village just outside Muqdadiyah, about 90km north of Baghdad, the provincial police spokesman said.

On Monday night, three fighters were blown apart while attempting to plant a roadside bomb in a southern suburb of Mosul, 360km northwest of Baghdad, police Brigadier Abdul-Karim Ahmed Khalaf said.

The US military, meanwhile, said an air strike killed three fighters suspected of being part of a car-bomb making ring in Yusufiya, 20km south of Baghdad.

Assault criticised

Also on Tuesday, an overnight US assault on the northwest Baghdad Shia district of Shula drew strong condemnation from Shia members of parliament.

Shula is a stronghold of the anti-American Shia leader Moqtada al-Sadr, sponsor of one of Iraq's most powerful militias, the Mahdi Army.

Baghdad police spokesman Mohammed Kheyoun said six people had been killed and 14 wounded in the fighting.

Earlier, residents who said US warplanes fired rockets at homes in the area put the death toll as high as nine. The US military has not commented on the reports.