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Coalition Forces in Iraq Capture Terrorist Cell Leader


The U.S. military in Iraq says Iraqi and coalition forces have detained a suspected terrorist cell leader and killed at least five insurgents during raids in Baghdad's Shi'ite district of Sadr City.

A military statement said the person detained Saturday is believed to have facilitated the transport of weapons from Iran and also coordinated the training of Iraqi militants in Iran.

Also in Baghdad Saturday, authorities say at least five people were killed in a car bomb and mortar attack near a market in the predominantly Shi'ite neighborhood of Bayaa. Nearly 40 others were wounded.

Elsewhere Saturday, U.S-led forces said they killed two terrorists, detained 23 suspected insurgents and destroyed a cache of explosives during operations against al-Qaida in Iraq, southwest of Taji.

In the southern city of Basra, military officials said insurgents attacked British forces for more than two hours.

The attack is believed to be in retaliation for the killing of their leader, Mahdi Army commander Wissam Abu Qader, on Friday.

On Friday, Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr made his first public appearance since a Baghdad security crackdown began in February and again demanded U.S. forces leave Iraq.

The radical cleric and leader of the Mahdi Army delivered an anti-American sermon at Friday prayers at a mosque in Kufa. He said sectarian fighting in Iraq is prolonging what he calls the U.S. occupation of the country.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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