Baghdad pounded

Relative calm returned to Baghdad on Saturday after a night of heavy artillery and cannon fire in Iraq's war-torn capital.

    Resistance fighters have shot down several US helicopters

    US aircraft roared overhead and deafening bangs shook the capital throughout the night as occupation forces continued their week-old crackdown against resistance fighters.

    "That is a continuation of the ongoing Operation Iron Grip," a US military spokesman said of the bombardment which started at around 10:20 pm (1920 GMT) on Friday night. 

    Iron Grip, launched on 24 December, has targeted fighters' hideouts used for firing mortars on the US-led occupation fortress-like headquarters on the west bank of the Tigris. 

    The US offensive has primarily been on the outskirts of Baghdad in the southern suburb of Dura. 

    According to an Aljazeera correspondent in Baghdad, the attack lasted for three hours. Eyewitnesses said two mortar bombs were also dropped on a house in al-Yarmouk district.

    "Citizens in Baghdad are now suffering from a power cut and shortage of fuel," the correspondent added. 

    Iraqi killed

    On Friday, Aljazeera's correspondent in Iraq reported that an Iraqi was killed and another wounded when US forces opened fire randomly at the car they were travelling in.

    The incident took place after a US convoy came under attack from an improvised explosive device near Ramadi, west of Iraq.

    Witnesses told our correspondent that the explosion left causalities among the US soldiers and set an oil-truck ablaze. US forces sealed off the highway and launched a search operation.

    Smuggler captured

    Foreign fighters smuggler was
    found near Iraq-Jordan borders

    US forces also arrested what they called a "foreigner" accused of smuggling foreign fighters into Iraq.

    The arrest took place on Friday in the Ramadi city of Rutba, near the Iraqi-Jordanian borders. "This afternoon at 12:35 am (09:35 GMT), elements of the 3rd Armoured Cavalry Regiment captured Abu Muhammad... a key facilitator operating in the al-Anbar province," the US military said in a statement. 

    "He is believed to be responsible for moving foreign fighters
    and large sums of cash throughout the area of operations." 

    Ten people referred to as "terrorists" by the US military were also captured in the same area.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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