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Deadly week for U.S. forces

BAGHDAD – A roadside bomb killed an American soldier in Baghdad on Saturday, capping the deadliest week for U.S. troops in Iraq this year. Clashes persisted in Shiite areas, even as the biggest Shiite militia sought to rein in its fighters.

At least 13 Shiite militants were killed in the latest clashes in Baghdad’s militia stronghold of Sadr City, the U.S. military said. Iraqi police said seven civilians also died in fighting, which erupted Friday night and tapered off Saturday.

The U.S. military said the American soldier was killed in a blast Saturday morning in northwestern Baghdad but did not say whether Shiite militiamen were responsible.

The death raised to at least 19 the number of American troopers killed in Iraq since last Sunday.

American casualties have risen with an outbreak of fighting in Baghdad between U.S. and Iraqi forces and the largest Shiite militia – the Mahdi Army of anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Al-Sadr, who is believed to be in Iran, repeated Saturday his demand for American soldiers to leave the country and urged his fighters not to target fellow Iraqis “unless they are helping the (U.S.) occupation.”

Al-Sadr also blamed the Americans and their Iraqi allies for the assassination Friday of one of his top aides, Riyadh al Nouri, director of his office in the Shiite holy city of Najaf.

Fighting also continued Saturday against Sunni insurgents in the north.


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