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Pentagon Challenges Allegation That US Aircraft Struck Iraqi Wedding Party - 2004-05-19

Defense officials are challenging news reports claiming U.S. aircraft fired on a wedding party in western Iraq early Wednesday, killing more than 40 people.

Defense officials confirm U.S. forces were in action early Wednesday near the Syrian border, but they say instead of attacking a wedding party, troops struck at what was described as a suspected foreign fighter safe house. The military says in a statement U.S. ground troops came under hostile fire and called in close air support.

After the battle, the military says U.S. forces recovered weapons, foreign passports, Iraqi and Syrian money and communications gear.

Defense officials are not challenging the reports claiming there were some 40 deaths.

However, the reports, by various news organizations, claim U.S. aircraft struck a wedding party, killing women and children.