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US Forces Battle Militants in Baghdad's Sadr City, 49 People Killed

By VOA News
21 October 2007

The U.S. military says its forces have killed 49 militants during fighting in Baghdad's Sadr City district. Iraqi officials said civilians were among those killed.

A U.S. military statement said troops raided the Shi'ite militant stronghold Sunday morning to search for an insurgent involved with high-profile kidnappings funded by Iran.

The statement said ground troops called in air strikes after being attacked with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades. It said militants set off a roadside bomb as the troops left the area.

Witnesses say two young children were killed in the fighting. The U.S. military says it killed "criminals" in the raid. Officers said they were not aware of civilians killed in the operation.

In northern Iraq, church sources say two Catholic priests kidnapped a week ago in Mosul have been freed.

In South Korea, officials say the government will ask the cabinet and parliament to approve a measure to extend the stay of its troops in Iraq into next year.

The measure would reduce the size of the South Korean force from 1,200 to six-hundred troops. South Korea once had about 3,500 troops in Iraq - making it the largest coalition partner after the United States and Britain. Domestic opposition has forced the government to progressively cut that number.

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

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