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US, Iraqi Forces Kill 15 al-Qaida Gunmen South of Baghdad


The U.S. military in Iraq says American and Iraqi forces have killed 15 suspected al-Qaida militants in a daylong battle south of Baghdad.

The military said Tuesday the fighting happened Monday in the town of Adwaniyah. It says up to 45 al-Qaida gunmen in trucks and on foot attacked checkpoints set up by local residents who recently began working with U.S. troops.

The U.S. military says the local security guards repelled the attackers with help from U.S. and Iraqi forces. It says American F-16 fighter jets dropped two large bombs in the area during the battle.

The U.S. military has recruited thousands of Iraqi citizens to run checkpoints and guard infrastructure in and around Baghdad. U.S. commanders say the local security guards have helped reduce violence in recent months.

In other news, prominent Iraqi Shi'ite lawmaker Bahaa al-Araji called today for Iraq's parliament to be dissolved and for new elections to be held.

Al-Araji is a member of radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's political bloc. He said many factions in the Iraqi parliament are no longer working in the interests of their electorates. Al-Araji said he was expressing his personal view and not that of his bloc.

Separately, Iraqi authorities say gunmen killed a police captain and wounded his wife today in an attack on their vehicle in the northern city of Kirkuk. Also in Kirkuk, officials say a roadside bomb exploded near a police convoy, wounding at least three policemen.

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

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