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Sporadic Fighting Continues in Iraq as Interim PM Vows to Crush Militants - 2004-06-25

Sporadic fighting between insurgents and U.S. forces in the Iraqi city of Fallujah continued overnight, as Iraq's prime minister vowed to crush militants responsible for deadly attacks across the country.

Witnesses reported explosions and gunfire in Fallujah, and hospital officials said there were casualties. Fighting had subsided by Friday morning.

The clashes follow violence Thursday in five cities, including Fallujah, that killed about 100 Iraqis and three U.S. soldiers.

Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi blamed the attacks on Islamic militants and Saddam Hussein loyalists. He said authorities had expected a surge in violence ahead of sovereignty on July 1.

Militants affiliated with wanted terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi claimed responsibility for Thursday's attacks, and Mr. Allawi has vowed to crush them and any others threatening Iraq's security and stability.