Iraq clashes intensify

At least 13 people have been reported killed as Iraqi security forces clashed with fighters opposed to the presence of foreign troops in Iraq.

    Iraqi soldiers arrested a number of suspected fighters

    Four people were killed and nine wounded when Iraqi security forces clashed with armed villagers south of Baghdad, medics said on Sunday.

    The battle erupted after Iraqi soldiers and police raided the village of bu-Mustafa, south of Baghdad.

    Two soldiers, a police officer and an armed villager were killed, police and medics added. Four soldiers and five more villagers were also wounded.

    A police officer said the skirmish lasted about two hours.

    Iraqi soldiers backed by Polish forces later rounded up 25 suspects in the village, according to Lieutenant Kadhim al-Ali.

    Elsewhere a US marine was killed in action on Saturday south of Baghdad, the US military said. 

    Baghdad shootings

    In the capital, an employee of the Baghdad provincial government was shot dead in the street by armed men early on Saturday, a ministry official said.


    Two men were found shot dead
    in a Baghdad district

    About an hour later, another man was killed in similar fashion in the same district of eastern Baghdad.

    To the north, four Iraqis and two fighters were killed in shootings and a bomb blast, while the body of businessman was discovered and 19 suspects were arrested, security sources and the US military said.

    A policeman was shot by assailants while shopping in central Kirkuk, said police chief General Turhan Yusuf.

    A prominent Kurdish businessman, Najat Ruh al-Din, 58, was also kidnapped as he shut his telecommunications and computer office in the city, he added.


    West of Kirkuk, two armed men were killed as they attempted to attack an Iraqi police-army patrol in the town of Zab, where 12 people were killed two days ago, said Major Ali al-Juburi.

    Nineteen suspects were arrested
    for attacks on oil infrastructure

    Meanwhile, 19 suspects suspected of carrying out attacks against oil infrastructure, were arrested near Kirkuk, said the US military.

    A soldier and a civilian died when Iraqi troops and fighters clashed in Samarra, raided by US-led troops last October in a bid to rid it of fighters before the 30 January elections, said Captain Assad Amjad.

    Another seven people were wounded, including four children, in a nearby gun battle between fighters and security sources, said a hospital doctor.

    Bomb attack

    Near Balad, a civilian was killed and four soldiers wounded when a homemade bomb exploded as a military convoy went past, said police.

    Meanwhile, the body of a 46-year-old businessman, Ahmad Abd al-Qadir Abid, was found in Tuz, near ousted leader Saddam Hussein's home town of Tikrit.

    The victim had been shot dead, said police.



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