Skip to main content
Home World U.S. Weather Business Sports Analysis Politics Law Tech Science Health Entertainment Offbeat Travel Education Specials Autos I-Reports
WORLD header

Airstrike on al Qaeda kills 7 children in Afghan madrassa

Story Highlights

• U.S. military says there was no sign of children around building before airstrike
• U.S. military considered compound "a suspected safehouse for al Qaeda fighters"
• U.S. military says mosque suffered only minor damage
Adjust font size:
Decrease fontDecrease font
Enlarge fontEnlarge font

(CNN) -- Seven children were killed in an airstrike by the U.S.-led coalition on a compound in eastern Afghanistan where al Qaeda fighters were believed to be gathered on Sunday, according to a U.S. military statement.

Several militants were also killed and two were detained, according to the military.

A U.S. military spokesman said there was no sign of children around the targeted building before the airstrike was ordered.

"We had surveillance on the compound all day and saw no indications there were children inside the building," said Army Maj. Chris Belcher, spokesman for the Coalition.

The military said other children who survived said that they were forced to stay inside the building throughout the day.

"Credible intelligence named the compound, which contained a mosque and a madrassa, as a suspected safehouse for al Qaeda fighters," the statement said. "Coalition forces confirmed the presence of nefarious activity occurring at the site before getting approval to conduct an airstrike on the location."

The military said that residents later confirmed that al Qaeda fighters had been present in the compound in Paktika province's Zarghun Shahr district all day Sunday.

"This is another example of al Qaeda using the protective status of a mosque, as well as innocent civilians, to shield themselves," Maj. Belcher said. "We are saddened by the innocent lives that were lost as a result of militants' cowardice."

The military said the mosque suffered only minor damage.

NATO soldier killed

Also on Monday, a soldier with NATO's International Security Assistance Force was killed and three were wounded in southern Afghanistan, NATO said.

Two Afghan police were reported killed as well, along with "a large number of enemy extremist fighters," NATO said in a news release.

"Fighting in the Chowreh district of Uruzgan province has been ongoing for three days."

ISAF spokesman Maj. John Thomas said allied troops are trying to "exert Afghan government control over a contested area."

Follow Related Topics

Search TopicE-mail Alerts



Quick Job Search
  More Options
International Edition
CNN TV CNN International Headline News Transcripts Advertise with Us About Us Contact Us
© 2007 Cable News Network.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
SERVICES » E-mails RSSRSS Feed PodcastsRadio News Icon CNNtoGo CNN Pipeline
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more