US troops, fighters clash in Baghdad

US troops have clashed with fighters west of Baghdad and Iraqi police have launched a new raid in a Sunni Arab-dominated part of the capital, despite calls by Sunni calls to halt such operations.

    Attacks by fighters continue to their toll on US and Iraqi forces

    Also, a British soldier was killed after coming under fire on Monday in Iraq's Maysan province, the Britain's Defence Ministry said. An Italian soldier was slightly wounded in an ambush in southern Iraq.

    Clashes in Ramadi, capital of the violence-ridden Anbar province 115km west of Baghdad, began when armed men fired at least five rocket-propelled grenade rounds and rifles at US army soldiers, a military spokesman said.
     
    "The soldiers returned fire and called in a jet nearby to attack the fighters' position with their main gun," Marine Captain Jeffrey S Pool said.

    The two fighters were killed, but there were no US casualties, he added.

    US troops later called in an air strike against fighters holed up at the city sports stadium, raising a huge column of spoke, residents said.

    Mortar shells

    Two civilians were injured when mortar shells exploded near the provincial office building, and one woman was killed by small arms fire, residents added.

    Car bombing is a favoured tactic
    of the anti-government groups

    In Baghdad, Iraqi Interior Ministry commandoes launched a search operation in the Dora neighbourhood, a largely Sunni Arab district and scene of frequent bombings and killings.

    Commandoes arrested more than 80 suspects, including eight Sudanese, four Egyptians, a Tunisian and Lebanese, according to Major Faleh al-Mohammedawi.

    He said the operation was still under way as of late Monday.

    The raid occurred despite calls by Sunni Arab politicians for a halt to such operations as the country's Shia, Sunni and Kurdish politicians are discussing formation of a new national unity government, which US officials hope can win the trust of the Sunni Arab community - the backbone of the armed anti-government campaign.
     
    In the latest attacks, a car bomber slammed into a commando headquarters were police were training in Nasiriyah, about 320km southeast of Baghdad, killing one policeman and wounding more than 30 others, police reported.
     
    A roadside blast in western Baghdad killed an Iraqi policeman and wounded another, police said.
     
    News anchor stable

    ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff and cameraman Doug Vogt, who were seriously injured in a roadside bombing on Sunday, were being treated by a trauma team at a US military hospital in Germany where they were flown after surgery in Iraq.
     
    "They're both very seriously injured, but stable," Colonel Bryan Gamble, commander of the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in western Germany, said at a news conference.
     

    Seven bombs went off in Iraq on
    Sunday targeting churches

    ABC officials said they suffered head injuries and that Woodruff also had broken bones. Gamble said the men's body armour may have saved them from worse injuries.
     
    The Italian soldier was slightly injured when an Italian convoy came under attack near Nasiriyah as it was headed to a village to help install electrical power infrastructure, a military statement said.

    Italy has a 2600-member military contingent based in Nasiriyah.
     
    The British soldier died of wounds suffered after his patrol came under small arms fire in Maysan province, a British Defence Ministry spokeswoman said.

    Since the 2003 invasion, 99 British troops have died, about two-thirds of them in combat and anti-government attacks.
     
    Civilian hurt

    Later, a roadside bomb exploded near a British patrol in Maysan's provincial capital Amarah, injuring one civilian, Iraqi police said.
     

    Since the 2003 invasion, British
    army has suffered 99 deaths

    Elsewhere in southern Iraq, a roadside bomb exploded on Monday near a joint Danish-Iraqi patrol north of Basra, wounding one Iraqi policeman, military officials said.

    Danish forces said the bomb targeted the Iraqi police rather than the Danes.
     
    In Baghdad, the bullet-riddled bodies of two bound and gagged men were found in different locations across Baghdad, police said. The identities of the victims were not known and there was no motive known for their execution-style killings.

    Armed men also attacked a construction team erecting a fence in western Baghdad's Amil district, killing one worker and wounding four, police said.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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