US army kills four "Iranian-backed" gunmen north of Baghdad

Other News Materials 24 April 2008 16:17 (UTC +04:00)

The US military said Thursday it killed four Iranian-backed Shiite fighters and detained five others during operations north of Baghdad while a suspected member of al-Qaeda in Iraq was killed in Baghdad, dpa reported.

US troops came under attack during an operation in Rashidiyah, north of Baghdad, to detain a "special groups criminal" suspected of receiving money and weapons from Iran to launch attacks on coalition forces, the military said.

The man and three other suspects were detained. Four other suspects were killed when US troops came under fire in another location, according to the military.

"Special groups" is the US military term for bands of Shiite militiamen who have not observed a ceasefire declared by radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

In a separate incident, troops killed a suspected member of al- Qaeda in Iraq group in Baghdad. The military said the man pulled a gun when his car was stopped by troops.

Nine Shiite fighters were killed Tuesday by an Iraqi army patrol backed by US special forces in Husseiniyah, north of Baghdad, the US military said.

The troops returned fire when the gunmen attacked their patrol using small arms weapons and rocket-propelled grenade launchers, according to the military.

In east Baghdad, a joint US-Iraqi force raided a mental hospital and detained staff and patients, a spokesman for the local health department told the Voices of Iraq news agency.

An Iraqi army force backed by multinational troops stormed Rashad mental hospital, smashed doors and detained everyone in the hospital, Qasim Abdel-Hadi said.

The report could not be independently verified.