Second day of clashes reported in Baghdad
American and Iraqi soldiers exchanged gunfire Sunday with Sunni gunmen in central Baghdad in a second day of clashes following the arrest of a local leader of Sunni security volunteers who had broken with al-Qaeda. Four people were killed and 15 wounded Saturday when fighting broke out after police arrested Adil al-Mashhadani, the head of an Awakening Council group in the Sunni neighborhood of Fadhil in the heart of the capital.
According to the AP, five Iraqi soldiers were missing, possibly captured by Awakening Council fighters, a police officer said. Fighting tapered off Saturday evening. But a local shopkeeper said clashes erupted again Sunday morning, with both U.S. and Iraqi troops firing at Sunni gunmen.
Al-Mashhadani was arrested along with an aide for alleged terrorist activity, Iraqi military spokesman Maj. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi said. He said the troops had a warrant issued by an Iraqi judge.
About a half hour after the Saturday arrest, heavy gunfire broke out, sending residents fleeing the streets, witnesses said. The shootout tapered off about two hours later.
The dead included three civilians and a policeman, according to police and hospital officials.
Also Sunday, a roadside bomb exploded near a security patrol in the southern city of Basra, killing one security guard and three civilians, police said. Nine other people were wounded in the blast, which occurred in Basra's Hamdan industrial area, police said.
Eight Iraqi policemen also were wounded when a roadside bomb struck their patrol in the northern oil city of Kirkuk, police Brig. Gen. Burhan Tayeb Taha said.
In Baghdad, another policeman was wounded Sunday morning by a roadside bomb in the Amiriyah area, another police officer said. He spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to release information.