7 February 2005 -- The U.S. military has denied a report that 22 Iraqi police and soldiers were killed in a gun battle with insurgents who attacked a police station south of Baghdad.
The Associated Press earlier quoted a man identified as Iraqi police Captain Muthana Khalid Ali as describing last night's clash in Mahawil. The police official said 14 insurgents also died in the fighting.
But the U.S. military command in Baghdad, citing local authorities, said no fighting had occurred in Mahawil.
In other developments, four Egyptian technicians employed by an Egyptian telecoms firm were reported seized by gunmen in west Baghdad yesterday. There has been no claim of responsibility.
The purported kidnappers of an Italian journalist have again demanded that Italy withdraw its troops from Iraq.
(AP/Reuters/AFP)[For the latest news and analysis on Iraq, see RFE/RL's webpage on "The New Iraq".]