U.S. forces in Iraq say seven American soldiers have been killed and more than two dozen wounded in clashes with Shi'ite Muslim militiamen in Baghdad.
In a statement, the U.S. military said soldiers fought off militiamen loyal to radical Muslim Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr (on Sunday). The statement says the militiamen were trying to take over police stations and other public buildings in Sadr City, a mostly Shi'ite neighborhood of Baghdad.
The latest report comes hours after at least 20 Iraqis, a U.S. and a Salvadoran soldier were killed near the southern holy city of Najaf.
The deaths occurred when a demonstration against the U.S.-led coalition by supporters of Moqtada al-Sadr turned violent. Coalition officials say armed supporters of the Shi'ite cleric began shooting at coalition soldiers, who returned fire.
Hospital sources in Najaf say more than 200 people were injured in the shootout.
In a statement today, Moqtada Sadr urged his supporters to stop protesting and to "terrorize" the enemy, because demonstrations are no longer effective.
Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.