South of Baghdad: Bombing attack kills five, Two shot dead in clashes with US troops
A car bomb went off outside a police station south of Baghdad on Thursday, killing at least five and wounding more than 20, police and health officials said.
According to Reuters, the attack took place in the town of Mahawil, some 75 kilometers south of Baghdad, when a suicide bomber blew up a minibus, an official at the health ministry said.
Short time befort the blast, gunmen drove up to the station at around 8:30 am (0430 GMT) and sprayed gunfire at officers outside the building, a source told AFP. After a brief exchange of fire, the assailants fled.
Also south to Baghdad, heavy fighting broke out between US troops and fighters loyal to Shiite leader Moqtada Sadr in the central holy city of Najaf.
US helicopters opened fire as they circled above the Najaf cemetery.
The Iraqi health ministry said two people were killed and eight injured in the fighting, which flared up overnight, died down and resumed in the morning.
The US military branded the late-night clashes an "overt violation" of a truce.
Najaf governor Adnan al-Zorfi requested back-up from US Marines after the main police station was attacked at 3:00 am for a second time in two hours with machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars, the US military told AFP.
Sadr's Mehdi Army withdrew when the marines arrived and US troops did not open fire, said a statement.
During the fights in Najaf, a U.S. Marine helicopter was shot down Thursday morning but the crew survived, the military said. Some were injured and were evacuated, military spokesman Spc. Justin McCue said. (albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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