Firefight near Najaf, explosions around Basra
U.S. forces fired intense artillery and mortar barrages at Iraqi troops close to the southern city of Najaf overnight, Reuters reported on Sunday.
The bombardment took place close to a bridge across the Euphrates river just north of Najaf. It carried on through most of the night but was particularly heavy between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. (2200 GMT to 2300 GMT Saturday).
U.S. officers said the Iraqis returned fire with rocket propelled grenades and small arms fire.
Meanwhile, explosions were heard around the southern Iraqi city of Basra in the early hours of Sunday, al-Jazeera television said. Accoring to the report, "many explosions" were heard around the outskirts of Basra from around 4 a.m. (0100 GMT).
A British army spokesman said on Saturday that Iraqi forces still held the center of Basra, which is surrounded on three sides by British-led forces. (Albawaba.com)