U.S. troops killed three Shiite gunmen who attacked them with small arms and rocket launchers in Baghdad's Shiite slum, despite a reported cease-fire, the U.S. military said Monday. The clashes broke out Sunday afternoon in Sadr City, marring the first day of a reported cease-fire between factions of Muqtada al-Sadr's political movement and the Iraqi government.
Nasar al-Rubaie, a Sadrist lawmaker, said talks on final touches to the agreement were still under way on Monday. According to the AP, Al-Rubaie said he could not comment on the latest clashes in Sadr City.
Fighting in Baghdad's Sadr City slum flared in late March after Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ordered a crackdown on armed Shiite factions in the southern port city of Basra.
Iraqi health officials on Monday said the latest clashes left two people dead and 25 hurt. On its part, the U.S. military said soldiers killed one militant early Monday, and two militants in separate clashes on Sunday.
The clashes erupted hours after U.S. military spokesman Rear Adm. Patrick Driscoll warned Sunday that a truce had not yet been brokered and that the Iraqi government and Shiite representatives were still talking.
Meanwhile, Iraqi police and army forces launched a crackdown in the southern city of Basra at dawn Monday to pursue suspected Shiite activists and seize weapons, said Maj. Gen. Mohammed Jawad Huwaidi, the security commander in Basra. About 10 suspects were detained and 62 machine guns and 20 rocket launchers were seized in overnight raids in Basra, Huwaidi conveyed.
One US soldier was killed in a roadside blast in northwestern Baghdad on Sunday night, but that was not in the Sadr City area, the US military said in a separate statement, cited by AFP.