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7 Dead in Baghdad Market Blast - 2004-05-09


An explosion has ripped through a crowded marketplace in Baghdad. Witnesses in the Iraqi capital say at least seven people were killed and eight wounded in the blast, which reports by the French news agency said was caused by a bomb. At least two of those killed are reported to be policemen.

Today's (Sunday's) blast came as U.S. troops in Baghdad clashed with militiamen loyal to radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

Witnesses say sporadic gunfights broke out in the Sadr City area of the capital, a day after U.S. forces encircled Mr. al-Sadr's offices in Baghdad and detained at least four of his aides.

There was no immediate word on casualties from the latest fighting. On Saturday, U.S. troops clashed with the cleric's fighters in the city of Karbala. Mr. al-Sadr himself is holed up in Najaf, where a CNN reporter (Jane Arraf) with U.S. forces says troops and militiamen have been trading fire today.

In southern Iraq, hundreds of fighters loyal to the radical cleric attacked British positions in two cities on Saturday. Two insurgents died during clashes in Basra -- Iraq's second-largest city. In Amara to the north, British troops killed three fighters during an assault on an al-Sadr office. There are reports of more clashes in both locations today.

In another development, U.S. military officials said a mortar attack on an American base in the northern city of Mosul Saturday killed one U.S. soldier, and wounded another.

Informtaion for this report is provided by AFP and Reuters.

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