Street battles rage in Samarra

An attack on a US post in the Iraqi town of Samarra has set off street battles in which a civilian has been killed and seven Iraqi national guards wounded.

    US and Iraqi forces stormed the Iraqi town in early October

    Police said the fighting began around 9pm (1800 GMT) on Friday and continued past midnight.

    A US military spokeswoman had no immediate information on the clashes.

    US troops and Iraqi security forces stormed the town, 100km north of Baghdad, early this month to wrest control from armed fighters as part of a campaign to pacify Iraq before elections planned for January.

    Elsewhere, Iraqi and US military forces arrested 22 people during a joint raid near northern Kirkuk, the US military said on Saturday.
    Nine of the detainees were known to be members of a "terror cell", the US command said.

    They were taken to a detention centre for questioning.

    There were no injuries reported during the operation.

    Kirkuk is located 290km north of Baghdad.

    US soldier killed

    US convoys are often attacked

    Also on Saturday, the US military announced that a bomber killed a US soldier and wounded another near the western Iraqi town of Ramadi.
    A spokesman said the attack on a US army convoy occurred at 8am (0500 GMT) on Friday.

    The soldier's death brought to 1111 the number of US military personnel killed in Iraq since the start of last year's war that removed Saddam Hussein.
    US marines are preparing for a possible assault on Ramadi and Falluja in an effort to curb resistance to the US presence in Iraq, and enable the country to conduct national assembly elections due in January.

    Tribal leader arrested

    US forces on Saturday detained an Iraqi tribal leader who has played a role in past negotiations for the release of foreign hostages in Iraq, his brother said.

    He said Shaikh Hisham al-Dulaimi, his teenage son and an aide were seized in an early morning raid on his house in Baghdad.
    "We don't know why he was detained because he has contacts with the Americans," his brother said. "They raided the house this morning and broke things. We don't understand why he was taken in this savage way."

    The US military had no immediate comment.

    The self-appointed mediator has been involved in hostage negotiations in the past and last month took part in efforts to free two French journalists seized in Iraq in August. The Frenchmen, Georges Malbrunot and Christian Chesnot, are still missing.

    Dulaimi, who was once criticised by an armed group that said he did not speak for them, says he has also been involved in the release of Iraqi detainees from US-run jails.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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