Aljazeera reported that a US Humvee vehicle was destroyed on Saturday and its crew members wounded when an explosive device went off in al-Jarayshi district northwest of the Iraqi city of Ramadi.

Iraqi fighters ranged against the US-led forces fired six mortar rounds into central Baghdad and smoke was seen rising close to a hotel complex used by foreign contractors and media.

There were, however, no immediate reports of casualties.

Iraqi Interior Ministry sources said the blasts caused some damage to a mosque near the Palestine Hotel.

A spokesman for the US -1st Cavalry Division said some civilian vehicles were also damaged.

Aljazeera also reported that the bodies of four Iraqis have been found in the debris of a house that US warplanes bombarded several days ago in al-Sikharya village southwest of Baghdad.

Journalist released

CNN Turk television meanwhile reported that a Turkish journalist, captured three days ago in Iraq, has been released.

The captors delivered the journalist, Zeynep Tugrul to a local Turkmen politician in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

The journalist left Iraq for Turkey after her release and an official from the Turkish foreign ministry called her family to inform them about her release.

Siege misery

Also in northern Iraq, residents of Tal Afar narrated to Aljazeera tales of suffering after US-led forces launched a major offensive against fighters reportedly taking shelter in the town.

Tal Afar residents gather at the
entrance to the town

Located 70km west  of Mosul, the situation in Tal Afar was said to be catastrophic with most inhabitants being forced to flee their homes.

Locals said US-led forces have cut-off electricity and water supply to the town and were also preventing them from leaving town by car.

"Those fleeing are being forced to walk long distances," said a resident.

"The US forces also cut off water supply in near by villages and districts like al-Ayadhiya, al-Mahalabiya and Abi Marya on Saturday."

US-forces said their offensive against Tal Afar was in response to repeated attacks by fighters who had moved into the town.