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U.S. intensifies pursuit of Iraqi death squads
Los Angeles Times
BAGHDAD, Iraq — U.S. military officials announced Monday that they had stepped up a campaign against "death squads" operating in the capital, launching 19 raids as sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shiites left dozens dead and wounded throughout Iraq.
In the province of Anbar, two U.S. soldiers died in combat, and the mayor of the provincial capital was assassinated.
Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, the top military spokesman in Baghdad, said Monday that the 19 raids were part of an effort to control the violence that has engulfed Baghdad in recent weeks. "Over the last week, we have intensified ... our efforts against death squads," he said.
The military said they captured eight cell leaders and 37 cell members.
Meanwhile, Iraq's prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, a former Shiite activist, made his first official visit to Britain since his government was formed in May.
Al-Maliki was scheduled to travel to Washington, amid talks of committing additional U.S. troops to Iraq.
The shifting of troops will mean that the 2nd Brigade of the 1st Armored Division, which had been stationed in Kuwait as a reserve force, will now be in Iraq. And the 2nd Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division, which was based in Germany, is moving into Kuwait to serve as the reserve force.
The U.S. military announced on Monday that two soldiers assigned to the 1st Brigade of the 1st Armored Division, based in Ramadi, had been killed.
Although the military released no more details, a witness reported that a bomb had exploded near a Humvee, apparently killing the U.S. troops.
Four civilians were also killed during a clash between an American military patrol and gunmen Monday afternoon, Ramadi police said. Violence has intensified in Ramadi in the past two days, killing five policemen and the mayor. On Sunday night, the mayor, Muhamed Ahmed Al-Dulami, was killed around 9 p.m. by a group of gunmen, a witness said. Three policemen were also killed in the attack.
But other cities were not quiet Monday.
A suicide car bomb exploded in eastern Mosul, killing five Iraqis and injuring four more. Two people were found dead of gunshot wounds in western Mosul and a member of the Iraqi Turkomen Front, a political party representing the Turkomen minority, was assassinated along with three of his bodyguards.
A car bomb also exploded in Samarra, killing two people and injuring 11 others.
Information from The Associated Press
is included in this report.
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