The U.S. military in Iraq says 15 civilians and 19 insurgents were killed Thursday in a coalition raid on a building where al-Qaida terrorists were gathered northwest of Baghdad.
A military statement says the operation targeted senior al-Qaida leaders in the Lake Thar Thar region. It says troops were fired upon by militants, and they responded with an airstrike.
The military says ground forces secured the area after the fighting. It says 15 terrorists, six women, and nine children were killed, and several others were wounded.
Military spokesman, Major Brad Leighton said coalition forces regret the civilian deaths. He added that militants deliberately endangered the civilians with their presence.
Also Thursday, Iraqi officials say a car bomb killed at least seven people in the northern city of Kirkuk. Authorities say 50 people were injured in the blast in a busy shopping district.
The bomb exploded as a convoy passed carrying a local police chief, who was among the wounded.
Elsewhere in Iraq, U.S. military officials say two coalition soldiers were killed, and 40 people were injured, in a mortar attack Wednesday at Camp Victory, a major U.S. military base near the Baghdad airport. The military did not disclose the nationalities of those killed.
In other news, six main Sunni Islamic insurgent groups have announced the formation of a new council to fight U.S.-led forces.
A spokesman for the group, called the Political Council for Iraqi Resistance, made the announcement in a video that was aired Thursday on Al-Jazeera television.
The spokesman says the group includes the Islamic Army in Iraq, the Mujahedeen Army, Ansar al-Sunna-Religious Committee, and the Fateheen (conquerors') Army and two other groups. Al-Qaida in Iraq was not listed among its members.
Some information for this report was provided by AP.