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There has been fresh fighting between Iraqi security forces and insurgents, one day after clashes between troops and protesters in the northern town of Hawija left at least 23 people dead.

The worst fighting on April 24 was in the town of Suleiman Beik, north of the capital, Baghdad. Officials said 18 people were killed, including 10 gunmen and five soldiers.

The violence began on April 23 after troops raided a Sunni Muslim protest camp in Hawija, saying gunmen had infiltrated the protest camp.

Protesters say they were unarmed when the troops opened fire.

The raid sparked a series of clashes and apparent revenge attacks in other areas that killed more than 50 people.

It was the worst violence since Iraq's Sunnis began staging protests four months ago against what they say is the targeting of their minority community by the Shi'ite-led government.

Based on reporting by AFP and dpa
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