BAGHDAD – Bombs targeted Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad on Monday, killing at least seven people and wounding two dozen, while Iraqi police reported that a woman and her daughter were wounded in an American airstrike against the Shiite enclave of Sadr City.
The airstrike leveled a small shop selling engine oil, wounding a woman and her daughter who were in their house nearby, a police officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. The U.S. military said it was checking on the report.
The number killed in Baghdad's main Shiite enclave was one of the highest tolls for a single operation since President Bush declared an end to active combat in 2003.
But Iraqi police and hospital officials, who often overstate casualties, reported only 15 deaths, including a woman, a 14-year-old boy and two toddlers. Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh and other Iraqi officials said all the dead were civilians.
A local representative of Muqtada al-Sadr denounced the raid but urged followers to abide by the radical Shiite cleric's call to refrain from violence.
Al-Sadr has ordered gunmen loyal to him to put down their arms, but thousands of followers dissatisfied with being taken out of the fight have formed a loose confederation that the military says is armed and trained by Iran.
"We call upon the humanitarian organizations to be aware of the crimes of the Americans ... against innocent people," Falah al-Obeidi said. "We call upon al-Sadr's people to have self-restraint. Their reaction should be peaceful and should not violate the order of the leader Muqtada al-Sadr to freeze their activities."
An Associated Press reporter counted 11 death certificates linked to the raid Sunday in Sadr City's Imam Ali hospital, and hospital officials said one person died at the district's General Hospital and three others at the neurology hospital in central Baghdad.
The U.S. military said it was not aware of any civilian casualties, and the discrepancy in the death tolls and accounts of what happened could not be reconciled. American commanders reported no U.S. casualties.
"At this time, we still have no evidence to suggest there are civilian casualties," Lt. Justin Cole, a military spokesman, said Monday. He declined to comment on how the military determined 49 militants were killed, saying the information was classified.
The district council called on Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government to "announce its absolute rejection of the monstrous military campaigns staged by the Americans under different pretexts" and to conduct an investigation and compensate the families of those killed. The council demanded that the government assume responsibility for security of Sadr City and ban U.S.-led forces from entering the district.
Al-Dabbagh said on CNN that al-Maliki, a Shiite, had met with the U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, to protest the action.
The military has said Sunday's raid on the dangerous Shiite slum was aimed at capturing an alleged rogue militia chief, one of thousands of fighters who have broken with al-Sadr's mainstream Mahdi Army, although the military did not provide his name.
The U.S. operation was the latest in a series that have produced significant death tolls, including civilians, as American forces increasingly take the fight to Sunni insurgents, al-Qaida militants and Shiite militiamen.
On Monday, a bomb exploded in a square frequented by municipal workers from a nearby building in the mainly Shiite neighborhood of Zafaraniyah in southeastern Baghdad. Within minutes, another blast struck police arriving to help with rescue efforts.
In all, three civilians were killed and 11 people wounded, police said.
A roadside bomb struck a minibus in Karradah, another predominantly Shiite neighborhood in central Baghdad, killing four people and wounding 12, police said.
Police also announced that gunmen killed Ahmed al-Mashhadani, an adviser to the leader of the largest Sunni Arab bloc in parliament, Adnan al-Dulaimi.