34 killed in Iraq violence

March 29th, 2008 - 5:50 pm ICT by admin  

Baghdad, March 29 (DPA) At least 34 people were killed and 38 wounded in separate incidents as the Shia militia Mahdi Army continued heavy clashes with Iraqi forces, witnesses and security sources said Saturday. In the city of Basra, some 550 km south of Baghdad, helicopters attacked two houses in Hayaniya district, killing eight people and wounding seven, witnesses told DPA. Nearby houses were also destroyed during the attacks.

Also in Basra, Iraqi forces attacked a house in Mawfiqiya district, leaving four people killed from the same family, a Sadrist official told DPA.

Clashes between Iraqi security forces and Shia fighters continued in Basra. Medical sources said that at least 75 people were killed in Basra and 250 wounded since the start of the heavy fighting Monday.

Iraqi ground troops, backed by US air and ground support, launched a large-scale operation to break the grip of Shia militias and criminal gangs controlling the city.

Nearly 30,000 Iraqi soldiers and police officers are involved in the operation, which is directed by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who is also commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

In another development, Iraqi security sources told DPA that 16 militants were killed and 18 injured during the ongoing clashes between the Mahdi Army and Iraqi forces in the city of Nasiriya, some 350 km south of the Iraqi capital.

Medical sources said the number of casualties resulting from the ongoing clashes in the southern city reached 84 killed and injured since Friday.

In Karbala, some 100 km south of Baghdad, Iraqi forces detained 20 Sadrists, during security reinforcements in the city, security sources said.

Six members of the Iraqi forces were killed Friday and 13 wounded in heavy fighting between the Mahdi Army and Iraqi forces in the city of Hilla, some 100 km south of Baghdad, security sources said Friday.

On Friday, six people were killed and 13 wounded in clashes. Some 65 members of the Mahdi Army were also arrested.

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