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Iraq: U.S. attacked American human shields

Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al Sahaf
Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al Sahaf

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iraq's information minister accused U.S. forces Tuesday of "indiscriminately" killing their own citizens in a bus attack and killing nine Iraqi children in a central neighborhood of Babylon.

"Yesterday, an American warplane attacked two buses on the highway between Baghdad and Ahman," Mohammed Saeed al Sahaf told reporters.

"Those people on those two buses are human shields coming to participate in defending civilian installations like water sanitation stations, electricity generation stations, and so on."

Sahaf said: "The 'brave' Americans start shooting the Americans [in the buses]. They are indiscriminately killing people."

He said Iraqis are awaiting more details on the incident., and the U.S. Central Command said it is investigating the claim.

Describing what Sahaf said was the attack in southern Babylon, 60 miles south of Baghdad, he said, "This morning, the villains bombarded a civilian quarter." He said the children who died lived in adjacent houses.

He described "fierce battles" in Basra and Nasiriya, and said coalition troops had targeted telephone exchanges and farms throughout the country, and hit TV and radio transmitters in more than three cities.

Coalition bombing of Baghdad on Tuesday morning killed five Iraqi civilians and wounded 25 others, he said. He said the five are among 24 civilians killed since late Monday.

Iraqi troops, however, are prevailing, the minister said.

"The Iraqi troops and the Iraqi fighters are in control of all the places, as we have witnessed," Sahaf said. "No big change in that. We are fighting against them."

Iraqi fighters destroyed seven tanks and the Fedayeen, forces loyal to Iraq President Saddam Hussein, destroyed seven coalition personnel carriers near Najaf, he said. Iraqis also shot down an Apache helicopter, he added.

"They are achieving nothing, they are suffering from casualties. Those casualties are increasing, not decreasing," said Sahaf, who referred to U.S. President George W. Bush and other Americans as "bastards."

Referring to Monday's fatal shootings by U.S. soldiers of at least seven women and children at a checkpoint in southern Iraq, Sahaf said "all those who do such acts are definitely racist."

The soldiers fired on the van carrying the Iraqis when it failed to stop after repeated warnings,the coalition's Central Command said Monday.

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