Iraqi security forces clash with militias in Basra

Iraqi forces clashed with Shi'ite militias in the southern oil port of Basra on Tuesday as a security plan to clamp down on violence between rival militia factions in the region began. Col. Karim al-Zaidi, spokesman for the Iraq military, said security forces concentrated heavily in the city's center encountered stiff resistance from Mahdi Army gunmen. AP Television News video showed smoke from explosions rising over the city and Iraqi soldiers exchanging gunfire with militia members. Maj. Abbas Youssef, a police officer in the Basra hospital, said four civilians had been killed and at least 18 injured in the fighting.