A Wednesday morning raid by American soldiers in Baqouba, backed up by aircraft, killed four suspected militants and four civilians, while four other people died in scattered violence around Iraq.Iraqi security forces arrested another leader of the 1920 Revolution Brigades, a group accused of numerous attacks on U.S. forces, the General Command of the Armed Forces said Wednesday. The man was arrested Tuesday night in the village of al-Jazira, about 60 miles north of Baghdad, said Brig. Qassim al-Mussawi. The operation follows the arrest of another leader of the group and seven aides early Saturday in the same area. Authorities have not released the insurgents' names, citing security. The Sunni militant group, a mixture of Iraqi nationalists and Islamic extremists, is believed to be responsible for numerous attacks against U.S. forces and a series of kidnappings.
In Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, U.S. forces chasing a militant with alleged links to leaders of al Qaeda in Iraq came under heavy fire from their target building.
Two suspects were killed, and the military then called in airstrikes due to the heavy volume of fire from the building.
After aircraft fired multiple rounds at the building, soldiers moved in and found that two additional suspects and four women civilians had been killed.
Inside the building, troops found weapons and a global positioning system, the military said.
"Coalition forces strive to mitigate risks to civilians while in pursuit of terrorists," the military said. "Terrorists continue to deliberately place innocent Iraqi women and children in danger by their actions and presence."
In other developments:
Iraqi and U.S. authorities released 62 prisoners, apparently followers of militant Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, as part of the Iraqi prime minister's national reconciliation efforts. The buses ferrying detainees were seen escorted by the U.S. military to a main bus station in central Baghdad. As they got off the bus, the former prisoners chanted slogans in support of al-Sadr, who twice launched revolts against U.S. military occupation in 2004.
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