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9 Dead in Iraqi Shootout, US Soldier Killed in Baghdad Blast - 2004-04-26


At least eight Iraqi insurgents and one U.S. Marine were killed today(Monday) in the Iraqi city of Fallujah in a firefight that erupted despite a supposed truce in the city.

U.S. General Mark Kimmitt said Marines were attacked by insurgents firing small arms and grenades from windows in the minaret of a mosque. He said the minaret was destroyed in the fighting.

In Baghdad, the general said two U.S. soldiers were killed and at least eight wounded by an explosion at a chemical storehouse being searched for weapons.

General Kimmitt said the cause of the blast has not been determined. He said the store owner and associates were suspected of supplying insurgents with chemical munitions.

Elsewhere, a top U.S. civilian official in Baghdad said militiamen backing defiant Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr are stockpiling weapons in the southern city of Najaf in mosques, shrines and schools.

Coalition spokesman Dan Senor called on the residents of Najaf to restore the mosques to places of worship. He warned that mosques are not protected under the Geneva Convention if they are used to launch military operations or store weapons.

U.S. forces are massed outside the Shi'ite holy city and have threatened to capture or kill Moqtada al-Sadr, whose militia has staged attacks on coalition forces.

Information for this story is provided by AP and AFP.

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