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Iraqi Army Recruitment Center Attacked

15 May 2004 -- Four people were killed and at least 17 injured in a mortar attack on 15 May on an Iraqi Army recruitment center in the northern city of Mosul.

Police said the mortar hit a group of civilians lining up to join the Iraqi Army.

Meanwhile, fighting was reported today and yesterday in Karbala, Al-Nasiriyah, Al-Najaf, and Amarah, primarily between coalition forces and militants loyal to renegade Shi'a cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

The clashes came as special UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi is continuing his efforts in Baghdad to develop a broadly acceptable caretaker government to assume sovereignty.

The U.S. military said today that an explosion hit coalition headquarters in Baghdad, but provided no details.

In Karbala, south of Baghdad, U.S. forces clashed with fighters loyal to al-Sadr. Two insurgents are believed to have been killed.

Italian soldiers clashed with al-Sadr loyalists in Al-Nasiriyah overnight.

Britain's Defense Ministry said today its troops had killed up to 16 insurgents in a firefight yesterday after being ambushed in Amarah, in southern Iraq.

In Al-Najaf, meanwhile, a standoff continues between U.S. forces and fighters loyal to al-Sadr. Fierce fighting took place in the city's vast cemetery yesterday, and apparent gunfire damaged the Imam Ali mosque, one of Shi'a Islam's holiest shrines.

Hospital officials say at least four Iraqis were killed.

The U.S. military also announced today the deaths of five of its soldiers in Iraq. Three of the soldiers died yesterday due to separate attacks.

One soldier died from wounds received in a mortar attack. Another died of bullet wounds sustained in a sniper ambush. A third died from injuries suffered in a car-bomb attack.

The military statement said a fourth soldier died when his military vehicle overturned. A fifth soldier died of natural causes.

Some 570 U.S. soldiers have been killed in action in Iraq since the invasion that overthrew Saddam Hussein last year.