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Heavy Causalties Reported in New Iraq Fighting - 2004-08-14


U.S. and Iraqi forces engaged in sometimes fierce clashes with insurgents in two Iraqi cities Saturday, while a truce appeared to be holding in Najaf, the scene of bloody clashes over the last 10 days.

In the mainly Sunni city of Samarra, north of Baghdad, the U.S. military says it killed about 50 insurgents in bombing raids on their positions.

There was also intense fighting in the southern city of Hilla, where supporters of radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr clashed with Iraqi police backed by multinational forces. Iraq's interior ministry says 40 fighters and three police officers were killed.

And in the Shi'ite holy city of Najaf, thousands of demonstrators converged from across the country to show their support for Moqtada al-Sadr. But fighting remained halted for a second day, as government officials try to negotiate an end to the violence.

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