Shiite militiamen fired mortars at two military bases and shot at a Polish helicopter south of Baghdad during clashes Monday that killed as many as five Iraqi civilians, including two children, and injured 20, officials said. Two Polish soldiers suffered minor wounds in the clashes in Diwaniyah, a mainly Shiite city 80 miles south of Baghdad, the Polish Defense Ministry said.
In Baghdad, a parked car bomb went off near an amusement park in the evening, killing at least six people and wounding 25, as families were going home after relaxing on a Muslim holiday, police said, according to the AP. The casualties included women and youths.
The fighting in Diwaniyah started when fighters from the Mahdi Army militia fired four mortar rounds at the main American and Polish base and nine rounds at a patrol base manned mainly by Iraqis and Polish troops, an Iraqi military official said. U.S.-led forces fired back with six or seven artillery rounds, and both sides traded small-arms fire, the official said.
In other violence Monday, an Iraqi journalist was killed in an ambush in northern Iraq, the second such attack in as many days. Dhi Abdul-Razak al-Dibo, a 32-year-old freelance reporter, was attacked by gunmen as he was driving his BMW with two guards near Kirkuk, 180 miles north of Baghdad, Kirkuk police spokesman Brig. Gen. Sarhat Qadir said. The two guards were wounded.
The attack occurred a day after an Iraqi reporter for The Washington Post was shot to death in Baghdad.
Meanwhile, Turkey moved a step closer Monday to a possible incursion in northern Iraq as the government sought parliament's approval for military action against Kurdish bases, despite US opposition. Ankara hopes it will not be forced to resort to military action, Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek told reporters after a cabinet meeting, shortly before a motion was formally submitted to parliament.
"We hope that there will be no reason to use the authorisation, we hope there will be no need for that," he said, according to AFP.
The motion seeks a one-year authorisation for a military operation in northern Iraq, where an estimated 3,500 rebels of the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) are based. The government will decide on the timing and scope of the operation and can use the authorisation for numerous raids, Cicek said.