August 11, 2008

Afghan Civilians Among 33 Dead in Air Raid

At least 33 people, including eight civilians, died in a coalition airstrike in southern Afghanistan, military officials said Monday.

The military said in a statement the civilians were being held hostage at a compound where militants had gone after exchanging gunfire with soldiers, reported KUNA, the Kuwaiti news agency.

The fighting occurred in the Khas district of Uruzgan province, where militants attacked coalition forces and fled into a building where they held 11 non-combatant hostages, the military official said. Coalition forces said the civilians tried to escape but were beaten and unable to flee.

Coalition troops said they were unaware that the building bombed during the airstrike contained civilians as well as militant forces.