Iraqi villagers say some of the victims were shot dead and pictures they captured at the scene of the attack shows bullet holes that appeared to be from a ground assault.
The US military said senior al-Qaeda leaders were meeting in the Lake Thar Thar region, 80km north of Baghdad.
The US admitted six women and nine children were killed along with 19 fighters.
Villagers say they have buried 24 people but do not know what happened to the others who they said were taken away by the Americans.
Some analysts told Al Jazeera that the incident was yet another example of Iraqi civilians being indiscriminately killed as US forces pursued their enemies.
“Iraq is still under foreign occupation and Iraqis continue to die in great numbers”
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“The Iraqi people they are very unhappy. The feelings there are running very high. They think the Iraqi blood is very cheap, and someone has to pay for something like this,” Louay Bahry of the Middle East Institute said.
Meanwhile, the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holidays in Iraq were marred by violence that left dozens dead.
At least nine people, including women and children, were killed when a car bomb exploded next to a minibus full of Shia Muslims on their way to a shrine in northern Baghdad, Iraqi military officials said.
As many as 13 people were wounded by the blast in Aden square, which was then sealed off to vehicles by security forces.
At least 32 people were killed and dozens wounded elsewhere in the country.
|At least 17 were killed and 27 wounded in the
Samarra attack, police said [AFP]
Late on Saturday, a suicide truck bomber and several fighters carried out a co-ordinated attack on a police station in Samarra, 120km north of Baghdad.
The truck exploded about 100m away from the intended target before a gun fight between fighters and the police.
“Seventeen people were killed and 27 wounded when a suicide truck bomber targeted police commandos in Samarra,” a police official said.
The explosion destroyed several buildings in a residential area of the city. Many of the dead were women and children, and it is not clear if any fighters were among the dead.