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US troops kill 24 militants in Iraq

Twenty-four militants were killed and four US soldiers wounded in fierce clashes between US soldiers and fighters in the Sadr City district of Baghdad.

world Updated: Apr 29, 2008 19:34 IST

Twenty-four militants were killed and four US soldiers wounded in fierce clashes between US soldiers and fighters in the Sadr City district of Baghdad on Tuesday, the American military said.

The fighting erupted at around 9:30 am when a US patrol was targeted with small arms fire in which a soldier was wounded, Lieutenant Colonel Steven Stover told AFP.

As the soldier was being evacuated a US vehicle was struck by two roadside bombs, small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades, he said.

The "complex" attack damaged the vehicle and wounded three other soldiers, he said, adding that another US vehicle was later damaged by a third road bomb.

Stover said US soldiers defended themselves and "killed 24 enemy forces in a protracted gunbattle," adding that the firefight was still continuing.

Earlier on Tuesday, Iraqi officials said nine people were killed in Sadr city, the bastion of anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia, and 25 others wounded.

It was not immediately clear whether the two firefights were the same.

Iraqi and US forces have been fighting against Shiite militiamen since March 25 in Sadr City, in which at least 472 militants and civilians have been killed, according to an AFP tally based on figures provided by US and Iraq officials.

At least 18 US soldiers have also been killed in Baghdad since the firefights erupted.