Friday, April 28, 2006

At least 58 dead in Baqouba fighting

The death toll in two days of fighting around Baqouba climbed to 58, including seven Iraqi soldiers, Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Awad said today.

Iraqi police continued to fight insurgents in the streets of the city, 30 miles north-east of Baghdad, and witnesses saw at least two wounded police officers being carried to police vehicles for evacuation.

Iraqi soldiers also patrolled the city, which was closed to pedestrians and traffic by a curfew.

The fighting in the Baqouba area erupted yesterday when insurgents using mortar rounds, rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire attacked five police checkpoints, a police station and an Iraqi army headquarters, Iraqi and US officials said.

Clashes and raids continued through the night, Iraqi officials said.

Seven Iraqi soldiers are known to have been killed.

Ahmed said most of the dead were insurgents, adding 74 others were arrested.

US officials said two civilians were killed and the wounded included 10 Iraqi soldiers, four policemen and four civilians.

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