U.S. and Iraqi forces backed by helicopters swept into Baghdad's Sadr City Shiite slum in a dark-of-night raid Tuesday that netted seven militiamen, including one believed to know the whereabouts of an American soldier kidnapped nearly a month ago.
Angry Shiites denounced the raid and a man from the district stood outside the Imam Ali hospital, holding the body of a boy killed in the attack.
The dead child's father and mother were both injured in the raid. His uncle is a member of the Iraqi parliament, CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer
reports, and now he says there's no way he's going to help govern the broken country.
Police said three Iraqis, including the boy, were killed and 15 wounded. No soldiers were hurt, the military said.
The raid came just weeks after Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, had taken on the role of protector of the sprawling Sadr City district by ordering the U.S. military to lift a blockade of the slum.
American forces had sealed the district for several days looking for kidnapped U.S. soldier Ahmed Qusai al-Taayie, a 41-year-old reservist from Ann Arbor, Mich. He was visiting his Iraqi wife in Baghdad on Oct. 23 when he was handcuffed and abducted by suspected rogue gunmen from the Mahdi Army, a militia loyal to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
The 3 a.m. assault in the east Baghdad grid of streets lined with tumbledown concrete block structures and vacant lots was the third in four days by U.S. and Iraqi forces.
The U.S. command said Iraqi forces came under fire during the raid, and that U.S. aircraft returned fire.
The operation "detained an illegal armed group kidnapping and murder cell leader... reported to have firsthand knowledge of the control and movement" of al-Taayie, the military said, adding that six other cell members also were detained.In other developments: President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will meet next week in Jordan to discuss the security situation in Iraq, the White House announced. In a joint statement, the two leaders said: "We will meet in Amman, Jordan, on Nov. 29-30 to continue our consultation on building security and stability in Iraq."
Iraq and Syria, which severed diplomatic relations 24 years ago, restored links in a development that could stem some of Iraq's unrelenting violence. Both Iraq and the U.S. have challenged Syria over its role in supporting Iraq's Sunni-Arab insurgency. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem came to Iraq on Sunday, the first such visit by a senior Syrian official since the 2003 fall of Saddam Hussein's regime. Also, Iran, on Iraq's eastern border, sent its oil minister to Baghdad today, Palmer reports.
Violence in Iraq declined Tuesday, with police, morgue and hospital officials reporting 33 people killed in sectarian violence. At least 44 tortured bodies were found dumped throughout central Iraq.
A Marine pleaded guilty Tuesday to aggravated assault and conspiracy to obstruct justice in the death of Iraqi civilian who was shot and killed by his military unit. Lance Cpl. Jerry E. Shumate Jr. entered his pleas through his civilian attorney Steve Immel during court-martial proceedings and was expected to testify about the April incident in the town of Hamdania.
Relatives and colleagues mourned the fatal shooting of popular actor Walid Hassan, remembering him Tuesday as giving hard-pressed Iraqis comic relief by poking fun at everything from politicians to long lines at gas stations. Haasan, 47, was the Shiite star of "Caricature," a weekend satire on Al-Sharqiyah TV known for its dark humor about the country's many problems. He was shot to death while driving through Baghdad on Monday.
The debate over what to do about the war on Iraq - complete with catch phrases to describe each plan - has intensified, with word of a secret report on the issue, commissioned by Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. According to the Washington Post Monday, the options are: "Go big, go long or go home."
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