LASHKARGAH: The bodies of a dozen people killed in a NATO air strike in Marja district two days ago were handed over to their families for burial in southern Helmand province, residents said on Wednesday.
The 12 civilians killed when NATO forces targeted their houses during the ongoing Operation Mushatarak in Marja and Nad Ali districts.
The international forces shifted the bodies form Marja district to provincial capital, Lashkargah late Tuesday evening and handed them over to their families in the Bost Hospital of the city.
A Marja dweller, who visited the hospital to receive the bodies of his relatives, said he lost 10 members of his family in the strike. He added his parents and a young brother were among his other family members dead in the assault. "No one attacked foreign forces from our house and there were no fighters hiding in our house," he explained.
Another resident of the area, Haji Abdul Karim, said he sent his family to the house of his neighbour to avoid being killed in the operation. "But artillery shells fired by foreign troops hit the house of my neighbour, killing all people inside excluding a small girl," he said.
Another member of his family, Bismillah said the dead were laid to rest in Grishk district due to the ongoing war in their own district.
Governor's spokesman, Mohammad Daud Ahmadi, said that deputy governor had visited the victims' families at the hospital and expressed his deep sorrows over the civilian deaths. He promised the victim families of compensation.
"We were told that three fighters and nine civilians have been killed in a house, but later it was known that all of the dead were civilians," the gubernatorial spokesman said.