8 U.S. Troops Die

August 28th, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: 8 U.S. Troops Die

Media: The Associated Press
Date: 28 August 2006

BAGHDAD, Iraq_A surge in bloodshed Monday left nearly 50 people dead in a
suicide car bombing and clashes between Shiite militia and Iraqi security
forces Monday, in a brutal contradiction of the prime minister's claim that
violence was decreasing.

The deaths followed a day of bombings and shootings on Sunday, when more
than 60 people were killed across the country, from the northern city of
Kirkuk to the capital Baghdad and down to the south in Basra.

In the city of Diwaniyah, gunbattles between Iraqi forces and militiamen of
the Mahdi Army loyal to radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr left at least 34
people dead and about 70 wounded, Iraqi officials said.

The fighting broke out late Sunday night when Iraqi soldiers conducted raids
in three neighborhoods to flush out the militiamen and seize weapons, said
army Capt. Fatik Aied.

He said the fighting continued Monday.

Dr. Mohammed Abdul-Muhsen of the city's general hospital said 34 bodies were
brought in _ 25 Iraqi soldiers, seven civilians and two militiamen. He said
at least 70 people were injured, but could not immediately give a breakdown.

Fatik said the militiamen were using rocket propelled grenades and automatic
assault rifles. At least 10 militiamen had been arrested, he said.

Diwaniyah, 80 miles south of Baghdad, is a Shiite dominated city where the
influence of Mahdi Army has been gradually increasing. It already runs a
virtual parallel government in Sadr City, a slum in eastern Baghdad.

But the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, has found it
difficult to rein in al-Sadr, whose movement holds 30 of the 275 seats in
parliament and five Cabinet posts.

Al-Sadr's backing also helped al-Maliki win the top job during painstaking
negotiations within the Shiite alliance that led to the ouster of Prime
Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari.

Al-Sadr mounted two major uprisings against the American-led coalition in
2004 when U.S. authorities closed his newspaper and pushed an Iraqi judge
into issuing an arrest warrant against him.

But American forces have also been wary of confronting the Mahdi Army
because of al-Sadr's clout over the government and his large following among
Shiites, who are in a majority in Iraq.

Some 10,000 Iraqis have been killed in the last four months alone in
unrelenting attacks by Sunni and Shiite extremists on each other's
communities, as well as bombings and shootings by Sunni Arab insurgents.

In Baghdad, a car suicide bomber slammed into a police checkpoint outside
the Interior Ministry in midmorning Monday, when traffic is usually heavy.
The blast could be heard more than a mile away, and smoke could be seen
rising from the scene. The blast killed 14 people, including eight
policemen, police 1st Lt. Ahmed Mohammed Ali said. He said 17 policemen were
among the wounded.

Elsewhere in the capital, a roadside bomb in the mainly Sunni western
neighborhood of Jihad struck a car transporting five barber shop workers
killed one person and seriously wounded another four, police Lt. Maitham
Abdul-Razzaq said.

In one of the deadliest weekends for the U.S. military in recent months, the
U.S. military said eight U.S. soldiers were killed Saturday and Sunday in
and around Baghdad, seven of them by roadside bombs and one by gunfire.

The renewed violence undercut Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's claim that
government forces were prevailing over insurgents and sectarian extremists.

"We're not in a civil war. Iraq will never be in a civil war," he said
through an interpreter on CNN television Sunday. "The violence is in
decrease and our security ability is increasing."

His statement came on a day when Iraq saw a string of bombings and shooting
across the country. In one of the deadliest attacks, a group of assailants
in three cars opened fire at an open-air night market in Khalis, a mostly
Shiite town 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of Baghdad, killing 23 people and
wounding 25 others, the town's hospital and police said.

A suicide bomber on a minibus near the Palestine Hotel in central Baghdad
killed eight civilians and wounded 18, the Iraqi government said, while two
back-to-back suicide car bombings in the northern city of Kirkuk killed nine
people hours after another suicide car bomb killed one person.

In Basra, Iraq's second largest city, 340 miles (550 kilometers) southeast
of Baghdad, a motorcycle bomb at a night market Sunday killed four people
and wounded 15, the governor's office said.

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