"The toll from the clashes is two dead and five wounded, including a policeman," Dr Amir al-Ubaidi of Ramadi's main hospital said on Thursday. 

A marine officer said one marine had been injured in fighting that erupted after a patrol came under fire during a pre-dawn weapons search.

Iraqi police said fighters on Thursday fired three rocket-propelled grenades at a US base and the regional government office in Ramadi, 110km west of Baghdad. 

Iraq's US-backed interim government has vowed to crush fighters in Ramadi ahead of national assembly elections scheduled for January. 

Search operations

Iraqi journalist Mahmud Abd Allah told Aljazeera US forces were engaged in weapons search operations in different neighbourhoods in Ramadi city. 

American soldiers have arrested
a number of fighters in Ramadi

"The forces have called on citizens through loudspeakers to stay in their homes, threatening to arrest or open fire at any one who violates the instructions," he added.  

"Ramadi city is paralysed," Abd Allah said. "Schools and governmental departments are all closed, as the forces have closed all roads," he added.  "US forces blow up all explosive devices they find," he added.

The Iraqi journalist went on to say that US troops found a car loaded with explosives, near Muaawiya mosque west of the city, and blew it up.

"US forces have also detonated a citizen's house, arresting three of his family members, claiming they have found explosives in his house," Abd Allah said.  

"However, the owner of the house confirmed that no explosives were found in his house, saying that US forces said so to blow up his house and arrest three of his sons"

Polish woman captured

Meanwhile, an armed  group said it had seized a Polish woman working for US forces in Iraq and demanded that Poland withdraw its forces from the country to ensure her release.

In a videotape made available to Aljazeera, an elderly-looking woman was shown seated between two masked men, one pointing a gun to her head.

The Polish captive said she had
worked in Iraq for a long time

The captive said she had worked in Iraq for a long time. She called for the withdrawal of Polish troops from the country and the release of Iraqi female prisoners from Abu Ghraib prison.

The tape also showed a black banner with the name of the previously unknown group - Abu Bakr al-Siddiq al-Salafyia.

Mosul blast

In a separate development, a car bomb exploded near a US patrol in al-Masarif neighbourhood west of Mosul city, sources told Aljazeera.

Following the blast, US forces sealed off the site, the sources added. 

Meanwhile in Basra City, three Iraqi police were injured when a car carrying twenty policemen was hit by an explosive device.  

 

Also on Thursday, a senior member of Badr organisation, which belongs to the Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution (SCIRI), and two of his bodyguards were seriously injured when unknown armed men attacked their car west of Baghdad, Iraqi police sources told Aljazeera.

 

Fakhri Abd is in a very critical condition and has been transferred to a hospital in Baghdad to receive treatment, the sources added. 
 

News anchor killed

In other violence, a news anchor and her translator working
for Iraq's independent al-Sharqiya television station were killed and two companions wounded in a drive-by shooting, officials said on Thursday.

"Al-Sharqiya is loved by the Iraqi street and I do not think we are a target"

A colleague of Abd al-Razzaq

Liqa Abd al-Razzaq, in her 30s, was travelling in a vehicle with three others in Baghdad's southern al-Saydiya neighbourhood when their car was ambushed by fighters, interior ministry spokesman Colonel Adnan Abd al-Rahman said.

One of Abd al-Razaq's colleagues said she had worked in broadcast journalism for about 12 years, adding that he believed the killing was not linked to her work at al-Sharqiya.

"Al-Sharqiya is loved by the Iraqi street and I do not think we
are a target, it could have been just coincidence, another episode of the daily violence," he said not wishing to be identified.

Abd al-Razzaq's husband, who worked as a translator with US-led forces, was killed a few months ago, he added.

Iraqi police executed

Also on Thursday, a purported Iraqi group said on its website that it had killed 11 Iraqi troops taken captive south of Baghdad.

Iraqi National Guardsmen are
often targeted by fighters

The Ansar al-Sunna Army said it had beheaded one and shot the ten others. The 11 Iraqi National Guardsmen had been captured on the highway between Baghdad and Hilla.

"After investigating with them and [hearing] their confessions, it turned out this group was responsible for guarding the Crusader American troops in Radwaniya area and what's around it in southern Baghdad," a statement posted on the web site said.

The web site had a video link showing the soldiers who read out their names and the name of their unit. It then showed the graphic execution of the men - some of whom were
squatting, their hands tied behind their backs, before they were shot or beheaded.

'Abandon your weapons'

A voiceover - identified by a subtitle as that of the head of the group or "Emir al-Jamaa" - addressed all Iraqi security forces.

"A call to the army and police: Repent to God ... abandon your weapons and go home and beware of supporting the apostate Crusaders or their followers, the Iraqi government, or else you will only find death."

A written statement warned that "we will not forget about the blood of our elderly, women and children that are shed daily in Falluja, Samarra, Ramadi and elsewhere on your hands and the hands of those you work with."