Ten-year-old Zainab Ali, a victim of a mini bus bomb explosion, look on in the Shiite-dominated neighborhood of Amil, Baghdad, Iraq, on Sunday, June 3, 2007. A parked minibus packed with explosives blew up in a busy section of central Baghdad,on Tuesday, May 29, 2007, killing 17 people and injuring 53 others. Zainab, was in her home the time of the blast and is one of many residents made homeless by the bomb attack. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
park n.公园, 停车场, 炮场 vt.停放(汽车等)
explosive adj.爆炸(性)的, 爆发(性)的, 暴露 n.爆炸物, 炸药
blast n.一阵(风), 一股(气流), 爆炸, 冲击波 vt.爆炸,毁灭
Mahdi militia hit by U.S., Iraqi troops
By HAMID AHMED, Associated Press Writer
BAGHDAD - As U.S. jets roared overhead, Mahdi Army militiamen on Sunday battled with Iraqi troops and local police searching for two militia leaders in the southern city of Diwaniyah. At least three people were killed and 24 wounded, official Iraqi sources reported.
The southern clashes came just hours after American helicopter gunships attacked targets in Mahdi Army-dominated Shiite east Baghdad, killing four suspected militants, the U.S. military reported, as the radical Shiite militia faced growing pressure to bow to central government authority.
In unrelated action, the U.S. military reported six American soldiers killed and six wounded in attacks Friday and Saturday. In one, southwest of Baghdad on Friday, a soldier on a foot patrol was killed after approaching two suspicious men outside a mosque, one of whom blew himself up.
Two other Americans were killed Saturday by a makeshift bomb while on patrol in the northern province of Nineveh, bombs killed one in western Baghdad and one in the volatile Diyala province northeast of the capital. Another soldier was killed by small arms fire south of Baghdad.
In another of Iraq's unending terror bombings, meanwhile, a car parked near a police station and an open-air market exploded Sunday in Balad Ruz, northeast of Baghdad, killing nine civilians and one policeman and wounding 25 other people, police said.
The latest round of bloodshed came as private talks were reported between al-Sadr's Mahdi militia and Iraqi government officials to win the release of five Britons kidnapped last Tuesday from Baghdad's Finance Ministry, an abduction believed carried out by the Shiite militia.
Recent American and Iraqi military operations in east Baghdad are believed aimed at finding and freeing those hostages.
London's Sunday Times, quoting an unidentified senior Iraqi government official, said al-Sadr's representatives were demanding an end to assassination attempts against militia leaders, an end to British army patrols in the southern Shiite city of Basra, and the release of nine Mahdi officials from British and U.S. custody.
Al-Sadr's office denies involvement in the kidnappings — of four security guards and a computer consultant. But the Times reported a al-Sadr official visited Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to tell him the men were "safe and sound" but would not be free until the demands were met.
The clashes in Diwaniyah erupted Saturday evening after Iraqi soldiers and police cordoned off a market in search of two senior Mahdi Army figures wanted by U.S.-led coalition forces in connection with sectarian killings.
Maj. Gen. Othman Ali, commander of the Iraq army's 8th Division, said his forces captured one of the men, but he escaped when fellow militiamen came to his aid.
The fighting on the east side of the city, 80 miles south of Baghdad, resumed about 9 a.m. Sunday with the support of U.S. fighter jets and helicopter gunships skimming over Diwaniyah's rooftops, police said.
Ali said his forces raided two locations in "fierce" fighting that lasted three hours. They failed to find their target suspects, but did uncover weapons caches, he said.
Police and medical sources said 20 wounded Iraqis, including two policemen, were brought to the local hospital from Sunday morning's fighting. The clashes erupted anew around 1:30 p.m, and one soldier and two other people were killed, and three civilians wounded, an army officer said on condition of anonymity, since he was not authorized to speak with the media.
It could not immediately be determined how many of the reported casualties may have been Mahdi Army militiamen. The U.S. military had no immediate report on the action.
The Mahdi Army, under the stridently anti-American al-Sadr, has emerged as one of the strongest autonomous forces in U.S.-occupied Iraq, and has been implicated in the wave of sectarian killings — of Sunni Muslims by Shiites and Shiites by Sunni groups — that has bloodied Iraq.
American and Iraqi forces launched "Operation Black Eagle" about two months ago in Diwaniyah, in search of five wanted senior Mahdi Army figures. About 180 suspected members were rounded up, but none of the five, said Ali.
The two sides had agreed on a truce two weeks ago, an accord that broke down with this weekend's clashes.
In the U.S. air attack late Saturday in east Baghdad, the U.S. command said an Apache helicopter team was alerted to men setting up multiple rocket firing positions aimed at the Green Zone, home to the U.S. Embassy and Iraqi government offices.
Four men were killed and one vehicle and 10 rockets destroyed by the Apache fire, the military said, and six other suspects were captured by ground forces of the 82nd Airborne Division. State-run Iraqiya television said the attack occurred in Habibiyah, a Shiite area on the edge of the Mahdi Army's Sadr City stronghold, five miles northeast of the Green Zone.
A recent increase in mortar and rocket attacks on the U.S.-controlled area has raised concern, especially since they are occurring during the U.S.-led crackdown in Baghdad.
In other violence Sunday:
Gunmen at a fake checkpoint in Baqouba, 60 kilometers (35 miles) north of Baghdad, killed two passengers and wounded eight others when they opened fire on three minibuses that sought to flee from the highway trap.
Police found eight unidentified bodies in an industrial area of the western city of Fallujah.
Associated Press writer Qassim Abdul-Zahra in Baghdad contributed to this report.