Civilians wounded in Mosul clashes

Thirty-five civilians have been wounded in the crossfire of a fierce gun battle between Iraqi resistance fighters and US occupation soldiers in northern Iraq, police on the scene say.

    US troops have said they opened fire after they were attacked

    The US military said it killed two Iraqi fighters in the

    clashes which took place early on Sunday around Tal Afar near the city of Mosul.

    There were no American casualties, the military added.

    A doctor at Tal Afar hospital said the majority of the

    wounded were women and children, many hit by shrapnel.

    Police said the clashes occurred when two US convoys were attacked, after which

     US troops returned fire heavily in the village

    neighbourhoods.

    Pipeline blast

    Meanwhile, a pipeline exploded in

    Iraq's south Rumaila oilfield on Sunday, days after several

    pipelines in the same area were sabotaged

    .

    A Reuters photographer saw fire and smoke rising

    from the pipeline near the city of Basra after hearing a blast.

    Employees attempt to control
    the Rumaila oilfield fire

    It is not known whether the explosion could further cut

    exports already disrupted by sabotage.

    Before the blast, exports from Iraq's southern terminals on

    Sunday were running at a rate of 1.4 million barrels per day,

    shipping agents said.

    That was up to 30% lower than last

    week, when 10 pipelines linking the north and south Rumaila

    fields to storage tanks and a pumping station were hit.

    Ceasefire negotiations

    Meanwhile, Aljazeera has learnt that US forces and the Iraqi interim government have held negotiations with representatives of Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr in an attempt to enforce a ceasefire in north-east Baghdad.

    At least 15 people were killed on Saturday during clashes and a

    US bombardment of Falluja and Sadr City.

    Iraq's Prime Minister Iyad Allawi on Saturday vowed to crush

    militiamen who refuse to disarm

    .

    Najaf has been battered by
    weeks of bombardment

    "We will confront this with force ... It seems that there are

    some elements in the al-Mahdi Army that insist on making things more

    difficult in Iraq outside of Najaf," he told Iraq's state-run

    Iraqiya television.

    One day earlier, al-Sadr evacuated his mosque bastions in

    the cities of Kufa and Najaf, where his fighters disarmed, ordered

    by Iraq's Shia Muslim spiritual leader Grand Ayat Allah Ali

    al-Sistani to end weeks of combat.

    But six people were killed and 92 wounded in the last 24 hours

    of clashes between al-Sadr's supporters and US troops in

    his Baghdad stronghold of Sadr City, said medics at three

    hospitals.

    Al-Sistani's five-point ultimatum for peace in Najaf made no

    mention of Baghdad or any other southern Shia cities where the al-

    Mahdi Army has clashed with occupation forces and Iraqi interim security forces.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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