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Iraq: Baghdad Protests Reportedly Leave Several Dead, Injured

Baghdad, 31 October 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Unconfirmed reports say a number of Iraqi civilians were killed and two U.S. soldiers were injured today during a violent demonstration at a Baghdad marketplace. Western news agencies say witnesses saw demonstrators throwing stones at the soldiers, who at some point opened fire. The clash apparently broke out when U.S. troops tried to clear market stalls from a main road. The incident could not be independently confirmed.

West of Baghdad, heavy smoke billowed from the mayor's office in the town of Al-Fallujah following a strong explosion in the city center.

Police said angry residents then clashed with authorities and police reportedly shot dead a resident during the riot.

In other news, the U.S. House of Representatives early today approved a $87.5 billion package for military operations and reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan. The U.S. Senate is expected to vote in favor of the package within days.