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Iraq Transition

U.S. says bomb hit wrong house in Iraq

Strike aimed at insurgents killed 6 family members

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A bomb that killed six civilians Monday near Baiji, Iraq, missed its target by 65 feet (20 meters) and hit the wrong home, military officials said.

The bomb, which was dropped by a U.S. fighter plane, was aimed at a building that three men entered after planting a roadside bomb as an unmanned surveillance plane watched from overhead, the officials said.

A U.S. Navy F-14 Tomcat fighter jet strafed the building before the bomb was dropped, according to a U.S. military statement released after the nighttime attack.

The bomb had "successful effects against the insurgents," the statement added.

The strike flattened a family's home, killing six of the family members and wounding three others, said a spokesman for the Salaheddin provincial governor's office. A father and daughter survived with only minor injuries, he said.

The Baiji strike was one of 58 air missions the U.S. military carried out Monday over Iraq.

U.S. military officials said they are investigating why the wrong building was hit.

In a news conference Tuesday, White House spokesman Scott McClellan emphasized the U.S. position that its military "goes out of the way to avoid civilian casualties."

"They target the enemy, they target terrorists and the Saddam loyalists who are seeking to kill innocent civilians and disrupt the transition to democracy," McClellan said.

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