Friday, October 22, 2004

18 Killed in Iraq Violence

Eighteen people including two girls were killed in Iraq in separate incidents late Thursday and Friday.US Marines clashed with several groups of militants, exchanging gunfire and artillery, on the outskirts of Fallujah, the US command said on Friday. Fresh fighting erupted about 4:00pm when militants from within the city fired small arms and mortars at Marines conducting security operations near the city, a military statement said. The Marines countered “with substantial and proportionate ground fire”.Earlier on Thursday night, US aircraft and artillery pounded suspected weapons warehouses in Fallujah, leaving seven people dead and three others wounded, hospital sources said. The US army confirmed that two raids were carried out in the area on Thursday. In other violence, a car bomb exploded near a police station in Ishaqi, about 80 km north of Baghdad, wounding two policemen, police said. Two prisoners escaped after the blast.Nine militants were killed and three wounded in a gun battle on Friday between US and Iraqi forces and militants in the town of Buhruz, northeast of Baghdad, said the US military. Two US soldiers and one Iraqi were wounded in a joint US-Iraqi operation on Friday against suspected militants near a mosque in Mosul, said the US military.