Developments in Iraq on Sunday 5/10/04

Monday, May 10, 2004

  • U.S. forces stepped up pressure on Shiite gunmen loyal to radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, pushing into the holy city of Kufa with tanks and assaulting militia positions in the narrow streets of a Shiite enclave in Baghdad. At least 34 Iraqis were killed.

    An explosion tore apart shops in a market in the western Biyaa district. The blast occurred when police tried to dismantle two bombs found in vendors' stalls, witnesses said. Four people were killed and 17 were wounded, the Health Ministry said.

    Gunmen opened fire on a U.S. patrol in western Baghdad, sparking a firefight that killed three Iraqi police, two civilians and one of the attackers. Fighters attacked another patrol in the center of the capital, wounding two Iraqi policemen.

    On Sunday night, a bomb went off at the Four Seasons Hotel in central Baghdad, ripping through the bar and wounding six people, including two Iraqis, two British and two Nepalese, a hotel employee and police said.

    Scattered clashes occurred between U.S. and militia forces in the industrial area of Najaf, where al-Sadr sought refuge last month. Plumes of black smoke could be seen rising from the area. Iraqi police and U.S. tanks blocked the main road from Najaf to nearby Kufa, residents said.

    In Basra, 100 miles south of Amarah, three coalition soldiers were wounded when a large explosion occurred near a coalition convoy Sunday morning. Witnesses said the wounded soldiers were British.

    A U.S. soldier was killed and another wounded Saturday in a mortar attack on a coalition base in the northern city of Mosul, the U.S. command said in a statement. Another soldier died in an "electrical accident," the command said.

    The latest deaths bring to 765 the number of U.S. service members who have died since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003. Of those, 557 died as a result of hostile action and 208 died of non-hostile causes.

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