BAGHDAD - Around 20 bodies and burnt-out cars littered the streets of the southwestern Baghdad neighbourhood of Al-Dora on Thursday, a photographer reported.
Bodies, including those of children, were still strewn over the road between Al-Dora and the international airport, which is under the control of US forces.
The putrid, fly-covered corpses were being buried in a mass grave along the side of the road by volunteers whose noses were covered with scarves against the stench, according to the photographer.
Some of the corpses were in or under the charred vehicles. Dead children lay on the side of the road, covered in sheets.
One family, two of whose members were completely incinerated, died in the back of a pick-up truck.
"If the price of freedom is this, we don't want it," said one Iraqi helping at the scene.
A gutted white Mercedes car sat at the roadside, a white flag still fluttering from its antenna.
A US officer at the scene said Saddam's Fedayeen paramilitary militia attacked an American convoy which retaliated, causing the deaths on Monday.
Witnesses, however, said that US soldiers opened fire on cars carrying civilians they thought posed a threat on Wednesday morning.
Two Iraqis were killed and three others wounded Wednesday when US troops shot at an ambulance on a central Baghdad street, a doctor said.
"The American troops just mowed down the ambulance which was transporting wounded people from the Saddam Center for Plastic Surgery to another hospital," said Belgian doctor Geert Van Moorter.
The driver was wounded in the stomach and the co-pilot in his legs, said Van Moorter, from the Belgian association Medical Aid for the Third World.
The ambulance had been carrying three men wounded by exchanges of fire in the city, he said, adding that two of them were among the dead.
"This is completely unacceptable, and when I went up to a US officer to denounce such behavior, he just said: 'The ambulance could contain explosives,'" said Van Moorter.