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The Al-Mahdi militia has emerged as a potent force in southern Iraq (file photo) (epa)
October 8, 2006 -- U.S. and Iraqi forces today clashed with armed gangs during a search operation in the town of Al-Diwaniyah, south of Baghdad.
Iraqi police and the U.S. military said approximately 30 suspected Shi'ite militiamen were killed in heavy clashes on October 7 that went on into today.
The U.S. military also said a state-of-the-art main battle tank was destroyed during the fighting.
Al-Diwaniyah was the scene of fierce clashes between the Imam Al-Mahdi Army, a militia loyal to Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, and the Iraqi Army in August that resulted in dozens of casualties.
A senior officer in the Iraqi police internal affairs department was shot dead in the capital today.
Meanwhile, the U.S. military says one of its soldiers died in northwest Baghdad on October 7, when insurgents attacked his patrol with small-arms fire. It also announced that two more of its soldiers died in Iraq the same day.
More than 2,700 U.S. servicemen have died in Iraq since the March 2003 invasion.
(compiled from agency reports)
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