5 killed, 17 hurt in attack on US-run base near Baghdad

October 15, 2007 10:38

Clashes begin when Mahdi Army fighters fire at least a dozen mortar rounds at the base.

5 killed, 17 hurt in attack on US-run base near Baghdad

US soldier 224.88. (photo credit: AP)

Five Iraqi civilians, including two children, were killed and 17 were wounded early Monday after Shiite militiamen attacked a US-run military base south of Baghdad, according to police. The clashes in Diwaniyah, a mainly Shiite city 130 kilometers south of Baghdad, began when fighters from the Mahdi Army militia, which is loyal to radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, fired at least a dozen mortar rounds at the base, according to a police officer who spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared for his safety. Eight of the mortar rounds landed on the base, but there was no immediate word on casualties or damage. A message left for the US military asking for comment wasn't immediately returned. The four other mortar rounds hit the city's nearby joint security center, which is run by Iraqi, US and Polish forces. Mahdi Army fighters emerged from alleys and swarmed the building, the police officer said, adding the clashes lasted about 30 minutes. Diwaniyah has in recent months been the scene of frequent clashes between rival Shiite factions competing for influence in the oil-rich region that's home to Iraq's most revered Shiite shrines in the cities of Najaf and Karbala, visited by millions every year.

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