Muslim leaders blast US Falluja raids

Muslim clerics have condemned the US military's latest air strike against the rebel city of Falluja, calling it part of Washington's scorched earth policy in Iraq.

    Scores of civilians have been killed in US-led attacks

    "Falluja is being hit every day under the guise of striking Zarqawi, and residents take out a two-year-old child from under the rubble - is this Zarqawi?" asked Shaikh Abd al-Ghafur al-Samarrai in a fiery sermon at Baghdad's Umm al-Qura mosque on Friday.

    "The Americans are using [Israeli Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon's scorched earth and collective punishment policy."

    Twelve people were killed, including a groom, while his bride was among 16 others wounded at a wedding party, when US warplanes hit early on Friday.

    US military officials said it was a suspected meeting place of operatives of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the most wanted man in Iraq.

    Jordanian-born al-Zarqawi is accused of links to the al-Qaida network.

    The Iraqi government has been in talks with a delegation of Falluja community and religious leaders in an effort for them to exert their influence over some elements of the anti-US fighters in the city to convince them to lay down their weapons.

    "Some members of the delegation say the talks are going well ... and then we have an operation that kills and wounds people," said Shaikh Ahmad Hassan al-Samarrai during a sermon at Baghdad's Abu Hanifa mosque.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Take a tour through East and West Jerusalem to see the difference in quality of life for Israelis and Palestinians.

    Stories from the sex trade

    Stories from the sex trade

    Dutch sex workers, pimps and johns share their stories.

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    As the stigma associated with being childless persists, some elderly women in India risk it all to become mothers.