Iraqi police kill two infants in Kerbala raid

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BAGHDAD, Oct 23 (Reuters) Iraqi police searching for a member of Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's militia shot dead his two infant daughters and wounded his wife in a raid today, a senior official in Sadr's movement said.

Haider Mujed was away when a police unit raided his house in Kerbala, Haider al-Jaberi told Reuters. The police then shot his two daughters, Mariam, three, and Ayat, 18 months, he added.

The police in the city said a shooting has occurred and that Mujed's wife and one daughter were wounded, but did not give further details.

''They killed his children deliberately, they shot them,'' Jaberi said. ''Nothing justifies what happened. They have killed infants.'' A source in a hospital in Kerbala said it had received the bodies of two female children and two wounded women.

It was not clear why the police were looking for Mujed.

Residents said police have killed several people in a series of raids launched on Monday in the Shi'ite holy city of Kerbala.

Clashes between the Mehdi Army and police in Kerbala left at least 52 people dead in August.

REUTERS GL PM2256

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