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Sunday, May 04, 2008

Major Baghdad Hospital Damaged By US Missile, Dozens Injured

BAGHDAD — A major hospital in Baghdad's Sadr City slum was damaged Saturday when an American military strike targeted a militia command center just a few yards away, the U.S. military said.

American troops also killed 14 people in separate incidents in and around Sadr City as bloody street battles continued to mark the U.S. effort to rid the area of suspected Shiite Muslim militants, military officials said.

The rocket strike near Sadr Hospital injured 30 people, shattered the windows of ambulances and sent doctors and hospital staff fleeing the scene, hospital officials said.

That hospital and another major facility in Sadr City had already taken in 25 dead bodies between Friday afternoon and 10 a.m. Saturday, when the strike occurred, hospital officials said. None of the injuries was life threatening.

The U.S. military is facing growing criticism over what residents describe as mounting civilian casualties in Sadr City, a densely populated slum of some 2.5 million people, which has seen heavy clashes over the past six weeks between U.S. and Iraqi forces and militiamen loyal to the hard-line Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr.

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