12 killed in fighting in Baghdad's Sadr City

Twelve people died in overnight clashes in Baghdad's Sadr City district, which has become a chief battleground between US and Iraqi forces and the Mahdi Army of anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, police and hospital officials said Saturday. Iraqi troops also kept up the pressure on Shiite militants in the southern city of Basra, where they fanned out through a Mahdi Army stronghold. In Sadr City's general hospital, officials said 71 people were admitted for treatment of injuries received in the fighting. The hospital also received 12 bodies, said an official who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to release the information. The fighting came amid reports that Iraqi troops backed up by U.S. forces were trying to recapture a position in the district abandoned a day ago by a company of government soldiers.