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US forces kill 18 Iraqis in Baghdad, medics say

Written by: Staff
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BAGHDAD, Mar 26 (Reuters) At least 18 Iraqis were killed today after US troops clashed with a Shi'ite militia, medics and police said.

Police said the clashes erupted after the Mehdi Army militia loyal to cleric Moqtada al-Sadr tried to stop US troops from entering a mosque.

A medic said 18 bodies were found around the mosque.

A senior aide to Sadr accused US troops of killing more than 20 unarmed worshippers during evening prayers at a Sadr mosque in east Baghdad.

US spokesmen had no immediate comment.

Police and residents said there were clashes involving Sadr's Mehdi Army militia fighters after US troops raided the mosque in east Baghdad. Police said the troops appeared to be trying to arrest someone.

Sadr aide Hazim al-Araji told Reuters the dead were not militiamen and had been unarmed: ''The American forces went into Mustafa mosque at prayers and killed more than 20 worshippers ... They tied them up and shot them.'' Reuters OM VP0000

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