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Iraqi Forces Arrest 200 Suspected Militants In Baghdad

22 July 2004 -- Iraqi security forces say they have detained some 200 suspected militants during a raid in central Baghdad today.

Interior Ministry spokesman Sabah Kadhem said the men are "suspected of conducting armed operations, robberies, and other crimes."

Earlier today, reports said hundreds of Iraqi police and national guards backed by U.S. soldiers carried out a military operation in central Baghdad sealing off an area around Haifa Street, which has been the scene of unrest over the past month.

The Interior Ministry spokesman said U.S. forces were not actively involved in the operation.

The U.S. military today said its soldiers killed 25 suspected militants, wounded 17, and captured 25 during several hours of fighting on 21 July. The clashes began after insurgents ambushed a military convoy.

Meanwhile, in Cairo, Iraqi interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi asked Egypt and other Islamic countries to send troops to Iraq to provide protection for UN personnel.