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13 Killed as US Troops Clash with Shi'ite Militiamen in Western Baghdad

24 August 2007

Iraqi officials say at least 13 people were killed and several others wounded in clashes between Shi'ite militants and U.S. forces in western Baghdad.

The U.S. military says eight militants were killed in the fighting, which erupted after militants fired at an American troop patrol in Shula district.

Witnesses say American forces opened fire from helicopters and that there were many civilian casualties. The area is known to be stronghold of the Mahdi Army militia that is loyal to radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

Separately, the U.S. military said coalition forces killed seven al-Qaida-linked terrorists and detained 12 others during operations in central and northern Iraq Friday. It also said three insurgents were killed in recent battles with troops in Baghdad's Dora neighborhood.

The military said one U.S. soldier was killed and four others wounded in an explosion Friday in Salah-ad-Din province north of Baghdad.

In other news, Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi said his Sunni political party, the Iraqi Accordance Front, will not return to the Cabinet unless its demands for reform are met. He was speaking from Turkey Friday.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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