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Coalition disputes wedding video


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Bomb in Baghdad as coalition disputes wedding video account. CNN's Harris Whitbeck reports (May 24)
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A home video of a wedding party -- purported to be the one some Iraqis say a U.S. airstrike hit last week -- has failed to shake the coalition's resolve that it bombed a high-level gathering of foreign fighters.

The video, obtained and distributed by Associated Press Television News, shows a bride arriving, people dancing and a man playing the piano.

That man, seen at his burial after the attack, appears to be one of the victims of Wednesday's early morning airstrike.

"Day after day after day as we continue to get more evidence in ... it is pretty clear to us that what happened that night -- from after midnight to about 0400 -- that the activities that we saw on the ground were somewhat inconsistent with a wedding party," said Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, a coalition military spokesman.

More than 40 people were killed in the attack. Local Iraqis said those numbers included women and children, but Kimmitt said the coalition had found no evidence that any children were killed.

Photographs released last week, reported to be of children killed in the attack, were taken in Ramadi, far from the site of the attack near the Syrian border, he said.

"We have witnesses who say there were no children there," he said.

Kimmitt also noted that the video was shot entirely in daylight hours, while the airstrike was under cover of darkness.

But the general said the coalition had "made no determination" and was conducting a full investigation.

"We have nothing to hide," he said.

Kimmitt said coalition forces found weapons, possible illegal drugs, cash and what appeared to be a "production center" for making false identification.

"It appeared to be a smuggler way-station of some kind," he said.

And so far, he added, "we have seen nothing that cause us to significantly change our minds."


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