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20 Iraqi Soldiers Reported Killed In Clashes

(RFE/RL) August 29, 2006 -- Iraq's Defense Ministry says 20 Iraqi soldiers have been killed in fighting with Shi'ite militia in the southern city of Al-Diwaniyah.

A Defense Ministry spokesman said 50 "gunmen" had also died in clashes in the city, but this was disputed by representatives of the Shi'ite Al-Mahdi Army, which put its number of casualties at less than five.

Reports say that by the evening of August 28, militiamen had set up their own checkpoints and were controlling some neighborhoods in Al-Diwaniyah, while the Iraqi army was controlling other parts.

Meanwhile, police said today they found the bodies of 11 people who had apparently been tortured and
shot before being dumped near a school in southern Baghdad.

The bullet-riddled corpses, with their hands and legs bound, were found in the Shi'ite-dominated Al-Ma'lif neighborhood. Police said the victims apparently were caught up in the sectarian violence between Shi'a and Sunnis sweeping Iraq.

(AP, Reuters)

Sectarian Iraq

Sectarian Iraq

Click to enlarge the image.

SUNNI, SHI'A: Iraq is riven along sectarian lines, faults that frequently produce violent clashes and are a constant source of tension. Sectarian concerns drive much of Iraqi politics and are the main threat to the country's fragile security environment.

THE COMPLETE PICTURE: Click on the image to view RFE/RL's complete coverage of events in Iraq and that country's ongoing transition.