Clashes continue in Basra as 40 dead and 200 wounded in first day
Gunmen loyal to Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr clashed with Iraqi security forces throughout Iraq's southern oil city of Basra for a second day on Wednesday. According to Reuters, a health official said 40 people had been killed and 200 injured in the first day of the clashes, including civilians, gunmen and Iraqi security forces.
Police reported heavy gunbattles between the two sides restarted early Wednesday in five districts of the city after a brief lull, as the Iraqi military continued its operation to clear the city of armed gunmen.
As clashes continued in Basra, other towns and cities across southern Iraq were under a night-time curfew as authorities sought to prevent further outbreaks of violence. Ground commander Major-General Ali Zaidan told Reuters his forces had killed more than 30 gunmen on the first day of the operation. More than 25 were hurt and around 50 were captured, he conveyed.
"The operation is still going on and will not stop until it achieves its objectives," he said. "It is on the same scale as yesterday."
Police said a roadside bomb went off near a car in northern Basra early on Wednesday killing all of the passengers.
In Baghdad, there have also been clashes in Sadr city. A source at Sadr City's Imam Ali hospital said four bodies and 25 wounded arrived overnight. U.S. military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Steven Stover said two members of the Iraqi security forces died in an attack on a checkpoint in Sadr City late on Tuesday.