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IRAQ WAR -
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Baghdad in state of emergency

Posted in the database on Saturday, June 24th, 2006 @ 20:12:28 MST (1749 views)
by Kim Gamel    Detroit Free Press  

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Iraq's government clamped a state of emergency on Baghdad and ordered everyone off the streets Friday after U.S. and Iraqi forces battled insurgents armed with rocket-propelled grenades, hand grenades and rifles near the heavily fortified Green Zone.

The military also announced the deaths of five more U.S. troops in a particularly violent week for American forces that included the discovery of the brutalized bodies of two soldiers. Twelve U.S. service members have died or were found dead this week.

The fighting in the heart of Baghdad came despite a crackdown launched 10 days ago that put tens of thousands of U.S.-backed Iraqi troops on the streets as the new prime minister sought to restore a modicum of safety for the capital's more than 5 million people.

Iraqi and U.S. military forces clashed with heavily armed attackers throughout the morning Friday within earshot of the Green Zone, which houses the U.S. and British embassies and Iraqi government headquarters.

Four Iraqi soldiers and three policemen were wounded before the area was sealed and searched house-to-house for insurgents, police Lt. Maitham Abdul Razzaq said. U.S. and Iraqi forces also engaged in firefights with insurgents in a dangerous area of south Baghdad.

Defense Ministry official Maj. Gen. Abdul-Aziz Mohamed Jassim initially said all Baghdad residents must be off the streets from 2 p.m. until 6 a.m. today, but Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki later declared the ban would end just three hours after it began.The state of emergency is to continue for an indefinite period and includes a broader arrest powers for Iraqi forces, Iraqi officials said.

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