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Iraqi Police: Some 20 Shi'ites Killed in Clashes With U.S. Forces


Iraqi police say some 20 Shi'ite militiamen have been killed in clashes sparked by a U.S. raid on a Shi'ite mosque in east Baghdad.

Authorities say the militiamen were loyal to radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. At least five Shi'ites were wounded in the clashes Sunday. Aides to Sadr say more than 20 Shi'ites died in the fighting, but note the U.S. attack was unprovoked. The U.S. army has not confirmed the clash.

Elsewhere in the capital, Iraqi authorities say U.S. forces arrested 40 Iraqi security personnel after raiding a bunker where 17 foreigners were being held. And Iraqi police say they found 30 decapitated bodies near the city of Baquba. Authorities are working to identify the victims.

The discovery is the latest since sectarian violence flared following the bombing of a Shi'ite shrine last month.

In other violence, a roadside bomb killed a teenage boy as he walked to school in Basra. A bomb in Baghdad killed a woman. And gunmen killed two people, including a police officer, near Baquba.

The attacks came as Iraq's Shi'ite, Sunni Arab and Kurdish leaders failed again to agree on a government, despite increasing U.S. pressure.

A delegation led by U.S. Senator John McCain met with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari Saturday and called for the stalemate to be resolved soon.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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