BAGHDAD -- U.S. troops backed by attack aircraft killed 19 suspected insurgents and 15 civilians, including nine children, in an operation targeting al-Qaida in Iraq leaders northwest of Baghdad on Thursday, the military said.
An initial airstrike struck a "time-sensitive target," killing four insurgents in the Lake Tharthar area after intelligence reports indicated senior members of al-Qaida in Iraq were meeting there, according to a statement.
U.S. ground forces faced small-arms fire after launching a raid against a building after suspects fled the initial meeting location to an area south of the lake, the military said. Subsequent airstrikes were called in.
Ground forces secured the area and determined "15 terrorists, six women and nine children were killed," a statement said. Two suspects, one woman and three children also were wounded and one suspected insurgent was detained, it added.