Fighters loyal to radical Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr have been battling coalition and Iraqi government forces across central and southern Iraq.
The fighting has killed dozens of Iraqis and threatens to reignite a Shi'ite uprising that ended just two months ago.
Clashes erupted today (Friday) in the southern city of Nassiriya, where Italian troops are based. (At least four Iraqis have been killed and 10 more have been wounded.)
The U.S. military conducted a second day of air strikes in the holy Shi'ite city of Najaf, pounding positions held by al-Sadr loyalists (as American soldiers and Iraqi security forces advanced on the insurgents).
There also was fighting in the Baghdad's Sadr City neighborhood (that claimed the lives of 19 Iraqis and wounded 111 others), and attacks on British forces in the southern city of Basra (that left at least two Iraqi fighters dead).
And in the Sunni Muslim bastion of Samarra, (100 kilometers) north of Baghdad, fighting broke out late Thursday near a bridge across the Tigris River (killing at least three Iraqis and wounding 13 others). (Samarra has long been a center of resistance to the U.S.-led coalition.)
Information for this story is provided by Reuters, AP and AFP.