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Iraq gunbattle kills 36

February 07, 2005 10:16 IST

Insurgents attacked a police station south of Baghdad late Sunday, prompting an hourlong gunfight that killed 22 Iraqi security forces and 14 attackers, reports Xinuha.

Reports said the clash broke out about 10.30 pm. in Mahawil, 50 miles south of Baghdad.

Five Iraqi national guardsmen and 17 police were killed and 18 security personnel were wounded. The attackers used automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades before withdrawing under fire.

In other developments, The Bush administration sought Sunday to allay concerns that a Shiite religious state could emerge in Iraq as a result of last weekend's elections, said The New York Times

Speaking on television news programs on Sunday, Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said that Iraq's most influential Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, opposed direct cleric involvement in daily governing, and that most Iraqis rejected an Iranian-style theocracy, the Times said.

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The unending spiral of violence in Iraq is a challenge to the Iraqi government and US forces. Us has let the genie out of the ...

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