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19 Insurgents, 9 Iraqis Die in Baghdad Violence - 2004-05-09


The US military says 19 Iraqi insurgents and nine Iraqi police and civilians have been killed in separate incidents in Baghdad.

Police and civilians were among at at least four Iraqis killed in an explosion in a market just west of Baghdad. Seventeen others were wounded. The Associated Press said the blast occurred as Iraqi police attempted to defuse two bombs found in the market.

Elsewhere, US General Mark Kimmitt said 19 insurgents were killed in Baghdad in clashes between US troops and followers of radical Shi'ite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Fighting in the slum district of Sadr city erupted when US forces moved to break up roadblocks set up by al-Sadr militia.

Hours earlier, U-S forces encircled the cleric's Baghdad offices and seized two of his top aides.

Sporadic fighting has gone on for several weeks between al-Sadr followers and coalition troops in Baghdad and southern Iraqi cities.

In (the southern city of) Basra, three coalition soldiers were reported wounded in a large explosion near a coalition convoy early Sunday.

Saturday, U-S troops clashed with the cleric's fighters in the city of Karbala. Mr. al-Sadr himself is holed up in Najaf, where a C-N-N reporter with US forces says troops and militiamen have been trading fire today.

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