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US Military: 10 Militants Killed in Raids on Shi'ite Stronghold in Baghdad


The U.S. military says Iraqi forces backed by U.S. warplanes killed 10 militants in raids on a Baghdad stronghold of a powerful Shi'ite militia.

A statement says another 10 suspected death squad members were detained in Wednesday's raids on the Sadr City neighborhood. The area is controlled by anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

The military says the operation was aimed at capturing a death squad leader and militants involved in kidnapping a U.S. soldier of Iraqi descent missing since Monday. The soldier was not found.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki denied he authorized or knew about the operation and said better coordination is needed between Iraq's government and multi-national forces. In Washington, President Bush agreed on the need for closer coordination.

Mr. Bush also repeated claims by the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, that Iraq's leaders have agreed to a "schedule" of goals to stabilize Iraq. But the president said U.S. officials will not put unbearable pressure on Iraq's leaders.

Opposition Democrats said setting benchmarks without applying pressure is bound to fail.

President Bush also addressed waning American support for the war by insisting the United States has a plan for victory in Iraq. And he vowed U.S. forces will stay in Iraq but will continue to adjust tactics to take on the enemy. He repeated accusations that Iran and Syria are working to undermine Iraq's democracy.

Some information for this report provided Reuters and AP.

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