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7 killed in joint U.S.-Iraq raid in Falluja

By Mohammed Tawfeeq, CNN
  • U.S. military says an operation had been planned
  • A former army colonel fire at troops during raid, witnesses say
  • U.S. troops in Iraq are in an advise-and-assist role now
  • Iraq
  • Falluja

Baghdad, Iraq (CNN) -- Seven people were killed and a woman was wounded early Wednesday morning when American and Iraqi troops raided a number of houses during a military operation in southern Falluja, the deputy governor of Anbar province said.

Falluja is a Sunni town in Anbar province, about 60 km (37 miles) west of Baghdad.

Deputy governor Mohammed Fathi Hantoosh's account was confirmed by police and hospital officials.

The U.S. military would only say that an operation had been planned.

"We acknowledge there was an Iraqi-planned and -led joint counterterrorism operation in Falluja," the military said, without offering further details.

During the operation, a former army colonel during Saddam Hussein's regime opened fire on U.S. and Iraqi troops, witnesses said.

The troops returned fire leading to the fatalities, they said.

Officials with Falluja general hospital said the hospital received three bodies and a wounded woman.

Hantoosh said the troops who conducted the operation took away four additional bodies.

Since September 1, U.S. troops are in the country in an advise-and-assist role. Among their functions is to back Iraqi troops in counterterrorism missions.