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U.S. Disputes Wedding Raid Allegations

20 May 2004 -- The U.S. military has rejected reports saying its forces killed more than 40 people, including women and children, in a raid on a wedding party in western Iraq near the Syrian border.

U.S. military officials said the target in the early morning attack yesterday had been a suspected safe house for foreign fighters, and that about 40 were killed.

The U.S. military said coalition troops had come under hostile fire and had returned fire. It said troops recovered weapons, Iraqi and Syrian currency, foreign passports, and satellite communications equipment following the incident.

Iraqi officials and witnesses said the U.S. helicopter raid had hit civilians celebrating a wedding and that up to 45 had died, about half women and children.