US forces kill eight militants in Baghdad bastion
BAGHDAD (AFP) US forces killed at least eight Shiite fighters in a series of firefights in Baghdad's Sadr City, the bastion of anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia, the military said Saturday.
The firefights which began 7:20 am (420 GMT) on Friday and continued sporadically throughout the day saw US forces use air support and tanks as they clashed with militants in the impoverished district of some two million people.
In one incident, an M1A1 Abrams tanks engaged "criminals" with one round from its main gun after Iraqi army soldiers reported being attacked by small arms fire from a house, the military said.
"Three criminals were killed in the engagements," the military said.
A Hellfire missile was also fired at the house, it added.
Later Friday, a US warplane also dropped a bomb and killed two others.
Three other militants were killed in other exchanges.
US forces have been clashing with Shiite militiamen since March 25 in Sadr City.
Hundreds of people have been killed since then, with followers of Sadr accusing the military of killing civilians.
US military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Steven Stover said the militants were using "innocent civilians as shields for their activity."