Some 21 other alleged fighters were also captured, said an occupation spokesman on Monday. 

 

In Muqdadiya, two assailants fired rocket-propelled grenades at a Bradley fighting vehicle on Sunday night, and the troops returned fire, killing the two. 

Troops also shot and killed three people who allegedly fired at them from a truck near Samarra, 110km north of Baghdad.   

In Albushukur village, near the town of Balad, troops killed one person and wounded another when their vehicle allegedly tried to run a traffic checkpoint early on Monday.

More captures

Elsewhere in Iraq, another 50 Iraqis, including a resistance leader and two fighters blamed for anti-occupation attacks, were captured. 

A Central Command (Centcom) statement named the alleged resistance chief captured last Friday in Habbaniya, near Ramadi, as "Qathim Muhammad Faris also known as Abu Kaaf ... a former Iraqi special forces officer and a fedayeen leader." 

The statement said that Faris was "closely linked" to Khamis
Sirhan, number 54 on the US army wanted list of 55 former top Iraqi officials. 

Pipeline blaze

Meanwhile, Iraq's largest oil refinery in the northern city of Baiji was on fire as US-led forces were deployed to protect the area's infrastructure, said witnesses.

US forces mount raids in civilian
areas as occupation toll rises

Residents of Burjwari, a village near the Baiji refinery,
said a bomb was placed overnight along a northern pipeline section carrying oil.

The fire has forced the plant to shut down electricity for two days, said the director of the facility Ali Adjil. 

The explosion caused a fire in the pipeline and damaged the
power supply line to the Baiji refinery and the rest of the
surrounding area, he said. 

The 300,000-barrel-per-day (bpd) Baiji refinery is 250km north of Baghdad. It is Iraq's largest and newest refinery, built in the 1980s.

Aggressive show

The latest violence comes amid a US show of strength, as occupation forces fired tank cannons, mortar bombs and helicopter guns near Tikrit, before rolling their heavy artillery through the northern Iraqi town.

The menacing show early on Monday was aimed to demonstrate the troops' determination to aggressively crush Iraqi resistance and use any force necessary, said senior military officials.

The overnight display of firepower and the mid-morning military parade were part of an operation dubbed Ivy Cyclone II, launched on Sunday.

Cannons bearing inscriptions such as Cowboys from Hell or Creeping Death sometimes swiveled towards the crowds.

The battalion had 150 men alone involved in the operation,
with hundreds more from other battalions participating. 


Central bank targeted

In related news, employees of Iraq's central bank were
evacuated while a rocket which landed nearby was defused, said witnesses. 
 
A salvo of rockets crashed into the heart of Baghdad on Sunday night, probably aiming for the bank and adjacent financial institutions, said witnesses. 

One of the rockets landed in the nearby courtyard of the 19th century Chaldean church but failed to explode, said church guard Muhammad Jassam. Another rocket hit a local cafe but no one was injured.