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IN IRAQ | Monday



Published: Tue, October 24, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



Other developments:

Militiamen loyal to an anti-American cleric re-emerged in the southern city of Amarah, hunting down and killing four policemen from a rival militia in a brutal Shiite-on-Shiite settling of scores. The Iraqi army set up a few roadblocks but did not interfere in the movement of Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army fighters after police fled the streets. The latest attacks came despite a public call by al-Sadr to halt the tribal vendetta, suggesting that splinter groups were developing within his militia.

In Baghdad, the U.S. military reported that a soldier was listed as missing Monday night and that American and Iraqi forces were scouring the area where he was last seen. The missing soldier is an Army translator, and the initial report is that he may have been abducted, said a military official in Washington, speaking on condition of anonymity because the information was not cleared for release.

With the fighting weighing heavily on the prospects of Republican candidates in midterm elections two weeks away, the military announced four new U.S. deaths -- a Marine and three soldiers. So far this month, 87 American service members have been killed in Iraq.

In Baghdad, public festivities were rare to mark the Sunni start of Eid al-Fitr, the feasting days at the end of the Ramadan month of fasting. Several bombings in the city a day earlier targeted people shopping for holiday food and gifts. Concerned over continuing attacks, police banned motorbikes from the city streets after reports that a number of planned bombings using the two-wheeled vehicles. Fears of attacks kept Sunnis indoors, away from traditional visits to family and friends and strolls in the city streets and parks.

Associated Press




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