Thirty insurgents were killed and 26 arrested during a fierce battle with Iraqi and US troops for control of a Sunni rebel bastion in the heart of Baghdad, state television reported on Thursday.
Insurgents were pounded by an Iraqi-US force in the assault yesterday on Haifa Street, home to former Baath party members, ministry spokesman Mohammed al-Askari told Al-Iraqiya television.
Infantry troops backed by sniper teams, armoured vehicles and attack helicopters fought for more than three hours against insurgents entrenched in the tall buildings after launching a pre-dawn strike.
Haifa Street is also home to Syrians and other Gulf Arabs who backed the former regime of Saddam Hussein and were provided with apartments along the broad tree-lined boulevard following the 1991 Gulf war.
The US military reported one soldier killed in central Baghdad on Wednesday, but did not say whether he had been involved in the Haifa Street offensive.
The Sunni Arab rebel stronghold was the site of three previous battles this month, including one on January 9 that involved 1,000 US and Iraqi troops in which 50 insurgents were killed, according to Iraqi defence sources.