Fierce fighting continues in Ramadi

Four civilians in the western Iraqi city of Ramadi have been killed in fighting between US occupation forces and resistance fighters.

    Tensions erupted after a tribal leader was forced to leave Iraq

    Another four civilians were injured in the fighting, hospital sources told Aljazeera's correspondent Husam Ali.


    Fierce battles erupted again on Thursday, a day after fighting left 25 resistance fighters dead, according to a US military statement.

     

    Seven Iraqis, including three national guardsmen, were wounded during clashes that erupted on Haifa road between US forces and resistance fighters.

     

    Haifa road was the scene of some of the fiercest clashes on Wednesday. Resistance fighters are in control of the eastern and western sectors of the city.  

    Vehicles damaged

    The fighters clashed with US forces after firing rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns in the eastern sector of the city. It is unclear whether US forces suffered casualties, but three armoured vehicles were damaged in the latest fighting.

    A checkpoint was erected on Haifa
    road by US forces after the clash  

    US tanks entered the town through the eastern and western quarters while snipers took positions on rooftops.

    Tensions erupted after occupation troops forced Shaikh Abd Al-Razzaq Muhammad - one of the major tribal chiefs in al-Anbar province - to  leave Iraq, reported Ali. Muhammad has left the country, he added.

    Ramadi has seen an escalation of fighting in recent weeks.

    The latest round began in the afternoon on Wednesday when fighters detonated a roadside bomb near a marine convoy and then opened fire with assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, according to the US military.

    "Marines and soldiers
    on the ground were
    also backed by aviation assets that provided
    fire support"

    US military statement

    "Marines and soldiers on the ground were also backed by aviation assets that provided fire support," the statement said.

    The US military also denied that a helicopter was downed in Ramadi on Wednesday amid reports from Iraqi police that a chopper had been shot down during fighting

    and three people aboard it had been killed.
       
    "We have not had any casualties in the past 24 hours and no downed helicopters," said a spokesman for the US Marine Corps.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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