U.S. Military Says 3 Airstrikes Kill 12 Armed Militants in Baghdad

Three U.S. airstrikes targeted mortar launching sites in northeastern Baghdad on Tuesday, killing 12 suspected gunmen, the military said.

The deadly strike occurred shortly before 2 p.m. when an unmanned drone spotted a large group of militants with weapons and mortar tubes, according to an e-mailed statement.

The drone fired a Hellfire missile, killing some 10 militants who were heavily armed, it said.

Iraqi police said 15 people, including women and children, also were wounded in the strike.

But military spokesman Lt. Col. Steve Stover said all three strikes were precise and video footage showed no children or other apparent civilians in the areas.

Another aerial weapons team fired a Hellfire missile elsewhere in the area, killing two suspected militants after two mortar rounds were fired at U.S. forces, according to the statement, which added that the mortar tube also had been destroyed.

In the third incident, an unmanned drone fired a Hellfire missile to destroy four rocket rails in an open field after determining no civilians were in the area.

The military didn't specify the locations of the strikes, but northeastern Baghdad is a predominantly Shiite area that has seen fierce clashes between militia fighters and U.S.-Iraqi forces in recent days.