U.S. Probing Iraqi Charge That Apaches Killed 33

Iraqi officials said Tuesday that U.S. Apache helicopters attacked a neighborhood in the central Iraq city of Hillah, killing 33 people and injuring more than 300.

The U.S. Central Command said it was investigating. It said no Apaches could have been involved.

Iraqi officials took reporters to the city 55 miles south of Baghdad and showed them bodies of people killed in what they said was a U.S. attack Tuesday.

One man, Kazem Mohammed, said he was on the highway from Nasiriyah, heading to Hillah when the attack occurred. He said 11 of his relatives were killed when the vehicle they were riding in was hit.

He said the dead included six of his children, his parents and his wife.

Hillah, which lies on the Euphrates River near the ruins of ancient Babylon, is believed by the U.S.-led coalition to be home to a camp for Saddam's Fedayeen, a militia Saddam Hussein has used to combat internal unrest and, in recent days, harass American and British forces. Hillah is a few miles southeast of Hindiyah, site of a battle Monday between U.S. and Iraqi forces.

At the Al-Jamhouri hospital in Hillah, journalists accompanied by Iraqi officials saw bodies that included toddlers and a baby of no more than 5 or 6 months.

A Central Command spokesman in Qatar, Lt. Cmdr. Charles Owens, said coalition forces had ruled out any possibility that an Apache was involved.

Earlier, Central Command issued a news release saying, "Coalition forces target only legitimate military targets and go to great lengths to minimize civilian casualties and damage to civilian facilities."

Iraqi military spokesmen said Tuesday that U.S. forces tried a landing on the outskirts of Hillah but were driven away.