The U.S. military says U.S. and Iraqi forces have detained a suspected Shi'ite militant leader who led a group of around 750 fighters in southwestern Baghdad.
The military said the alleged insurgent brigade commander and another suspect were detained Thursday. The two allegedly cooperated with foreign fighters and assisted other militants in acquiring sniper training in Iran.
Tehran has denied U.S. charges that it is supporting Shi'ite militants in Iraq.
In the latest coalition casualties, seven U.S. troops were killed in combat in Iraq Thursday, while Britain says one of its soldiers also was killed this week.
In other news, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said he does not support the execution of a former aide to Saddam Hussein for the mass killings of Kurds in the late 1980s.
Mr. Talabani, who is a Kurd, said former defense minister Sultan Hashim al-Tai deserves to be spared because he was carrying out orders and threatened with death if he refused.
Mr. Talabani also told a news conference in the northern Iraqi city of Sulaimaniyah that Tai engaged in contact with the Kurdish community during the ousted Saddam government.
Earlier this week, an Iraqi appeals court upheld the death sentences imposed against Tai and two other former officials for the killing of 180,000 Kurds in the so-called Anfal campaign.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.