Al Jazeera has obtained exclusive footage that confirms children were among the victims of a US air raid northwest of Baghdad. Local officials said that the bodies of 17 civilians, including six children and eight women, had been pulled from the debris of two houses in al-Ishaqi.
"I see nothing in the photos that indicates those children were in the houses that our forces received fire from and subsequently destroyed with the air strike."
Local residents said that one entire family had been killed.
He also told the AFP news agency: "This is the third crime done by Americans in this area of Ishaqi. All the casualties were innocent women and children and everything they said about them being part of al-Qaeda is a lie."
He told Al Jazeera that he was calling for an international investigation into the attack.
Abdullah Hussain Jabbara, deputy governor of Salah al-Din governorate, told Al Jazeera: "Residents of the two houses [which were bombed] have nothing to do with al-Qaeda network. All the people killed are members of the same family."
Jabbara said an investigation into the incident would be carried out.
"But what is the use of opening an investigation?" he asked. "The occupation still exists and Iraqi citizens are the victims."
The US said the dead were 'al Qaeda terrorists'
Troops raided a cluster of buildings in the area around Thar Thar lake on Friday.
The statement said troops had come under fire, and "despite efforts to subdue the remaining armed terrorists, coalition forces continued to be threatened by enemy fire, causing forces to call in close air support ... resulting in 18 more armed terrorists killed."
Garver told AFP news agency on Friday that the dead women would have been confirmed as combatants in a "battle damage assessment" or inspection of the site following the incident.
"If there is a weapon with or next to the person or they are holding it, they are a terrorist," he said.
Only a handful of complaints involving civilian deaths in Iraq have led to criminal investigations by the US military.
"I can promise you that, in every one of these incidents, they will be fully investigated," Lieutenant General Peter Chiarelli, the second-ranking US general in the country, said.
Al Jazeera contacted the US military for further comment following the release of the television footage.
The BBC later broadcast video footage from the scene showing people with gunshot wounds. The soldiers involved in the case, however, were cleared of all misconduct.