U.S. troops conduct raids in Baghdad - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/1/06-BAGHDAD, Iraq

U.S. troops conduct raids in Baghdad

Iraqi police officers guard a checkpoint in Baghdad on Friday. Iraqi police officers guard a checkpoint in Baghdad on Friday.

 American forces conducted several raids in and around Baghdad on Friday, killing two insurgents and wounding an Iraqi woman the militants were using as a "human shield," the U.S. command said.

Sectarian violence also killed at least 13 Iraqis and wounded more than 70 on the Muslim day of worship, police said, and a Sunni-Arab mosque was attacked by men armed with rocket-propelled grenades.

The U.S. military also said an American soldier was killed Thursday during combat operations in Baghdad. At least 2,886 members of the U.S. military have died since the Iraq war started in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.

Meanwhile, there was no sign that Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki was having any luck stopping a widening revolt within his divided government.

Two senior Sunni politicians have joined prominent Shiite lawmakers and Cabinet members in criticizing his policies. Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi said he wanted to see al-Maliki's government gone and another "understanding" for a new coalition put in place with guarantees that ensure collective decision-making.

"There is a clear deterioration in security and everything is moving in the wrong direction," the Sunni leader told the AP. "This situation must be redressed as soon as possible. If it continues, the country will plunge into civil war."

Deputy Prime Minister Salam Zikam Ali al-Zubaie, also a Sunni, argued that the Shiite prime minister's government failed to curb the spread of sectarian politics.

The boycott by 30 lawmakers and five Cabinet ministers loyal to anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr was in protest of al-Maliki's meeting with President Bush in Jordan on Thursday. The Sadrists said the meeting amounted to an affront to the Iraqi people.

Al-Maliki appealed to the Sadrists to end their boycott and admonished them for an action that he said violated the commitment expected from partners in his 6-month-old coalition government.

In an interview on Friday, Falah Hassan Shanshal, a Shiite lawmaker with the Sadrist group, said: "There is nothing new regarding our stance."

He criticized al-Maliki for winning a unanimous vote by the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday to extend for one year the mandate of the 160,000-strong multinational force in Iraq. At the time, the prime minister said a top priority of his government is to assume full responsibility for security and stability throughout Iraq, but that it needs more time.

Shanshal said the boycotters will await the reaction to the U.N. vote by Iraq's 275-seat Parliament when it meets next on Tuesday.

Legislator Baha al-Araji told the AP that the boycotters hoped to meet with al-Maliki on Friday or Saturday to discuss their demands.

U.S. raids target al Qaeda

The U.S. military raids targeting al Qaeda in Iraq insurgents occurred early Friday in Baghdad, the town of Youssifiyah to the south, and two locations to the north: near Taji, the U.S. Air Force base, and the town of Tarmiyah.

In the Taji area, coalition forces fought with insurgents, killing one and "wounding a female local national who was being used as human shield by the terrorist," the U.S. command said in a statement.

The female, whose name and age were not given, was hospitalized in stable condition, the U.S. military said. American soldiers also detained 14 suspected insurgents during the raid, including "a known foreign fighter facilitator" who was not identified.

"Terrorists continue to deliberately place innocent Iraqi women and children in danger by their actions and presence," the statement said.

It was the third time in less than a week that Iraqi women have been killed or wounded during U.S. raids.

On Wednesday, two women died when U.S. forces backed by aircraft killed eight al Qaeda in Iraq insurgents during a raid near Baquba, 35 miles (60 kilometers) northeast of Baghdad.

The day before, American soldiers fought with suspected insurgents in Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, killing six Iraqis: one man and five girls, ages 7 months, 12, 14, 15 and 17, according to the U.S. command. The military quoted residents as saying the building "was a known anti-Iraqi force safe house."

In Friday's U.S. raid in Youssifiyah, 12 miles (20 kilometers) south of Baghdad, forces searching for "a foreign fighter safe house" shot and killed an armed insurgent and found and destroyed a weapons cache, the military said.

In the capital, American soldiers detained the leader of a cell of insurgents that makes car bombs and eight suspected militants, the command said.

Two other raids netted four more detainees during operations around Tarmiyah, 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Baghdad, the military said.

Meanwhile, sectarian violence continued in the capital, despite a weekly four-hour vehicle ban aimed at preventing suicide car bombers during Friday prayers.

Men armed with guns and rocket-propelled grenades drove into a mostly Sunni Arab section of west Baghdad at 2 a.m. Friday and opened fire on a small mosque, a police officer said. The grenades set fire to holy books inside the one-story al-Quds Sunni mosque, which was empty at the time. Neighbors opened fire on the attackers, forcing them to flee, the officer said. No casualties were reported.

In Sadiyah, a primarily Sunni area of southwestern Baghdad, a Shiite man was killed and six of his relatives were wounded when a bomb explosion drew them outside their house at 6:30 a.m., and a second bomb then exploded right near them, another police officer said. Both officers spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of their own security.

Bomb attacks in three different areas of the capital killed six Iraqis and wounded 39, police said. Fighting between Iraqi forces and suspected militants in the al-Fadhl area of central Baghdad also killed one civilian and wounded four soldiers and six civilians, police said.

North of Baghdad, mortar rounds killed three civilians and wounded 14 in a village near Muqdadiya, and a suicide bomber targeting an American convoy killed two civilians and wounded three, in the city of Kirkuk, police said.

A detainee at Camp Cropper died Thursday, apparently of natural causes, the U.S. military said. In Iraq, the U.S. Army oversees about 13,000 prisoners at Camp Cropper near Baghdad airport, Camp Bucca in the southern desert, and Fort Suse in the Kurdish north.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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