1 U.S. Soldier Dead In Baghdad Bomb Attack

(CBS/AP) U.S. soldiers killed 14 suspected Shiite militants and an American soldier died in a roadside bomb attack in the latest clashes in Baghdad, the military said Saturday.

More than 100 people were also wounded in clashes Friday and Saturday in Baghdad's embattled Sadr City district, Iraqi health officials said.

The U.S. military on Saturday fired missiles from a launcher on the ground at a target about 50 yards away from the general hospital in Sadr City.

Dr. Ali Bustan al-Fartusee, director general of Baghdad's health directorate, told The Associated Press that 23 civilians were injured in air strike.

He said no patients in the hospital were hurt, but that some of the wounded included civilians outside on their way to visit patients in the hospital and around 17 ambulances were damaged.

Earlier, hospital officials said 28 people had been injured; the reason for the discrepancy was not immediately known.

The U.S. military said in a press release it destroyed a "criminal element command and control center" with missiles in northeastern Baghdad - where Sadr City is located - around the same time Iraqis reported the attack near the hospital.

Shiite extremists are known to have operated in a building next to the hospital, local reporters said.

The attack left a crater just outside the concrete barriers of the hospital and badly damaged several ambulances along with some other vehicles, AP Television News footage showed. The explosion also demolished a brick building.

U.S. and Iraqi forces have been locked in street battles with Shiite militias since late March in Sadr City, a slum of 2.5 million people and the base of anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army.

The U.S. military said 10 militants were killed in the fighting Friday, including a sniper and a triggerman accused of planting armor-piercing roadside bombs in Sadr City and the adjacent Ubaydi area. U.S. forces used aircraft and an Abrams battle tank in the attack.

The soldiers killed four militants early Saturday elsewhere in Baghdad, the military added.

Several vehicles and buildings were destroyed in the clashes, police said.

The American military also announced Saturday that a U.S. soldier died of wounds sustained in a roadside bomb that struck the soldier's vehicle during a combat patrol in eastern Baghdad on Friday. The announcement comes a day after the military said another roadside bomb attack in eastern Baghdad killed a U.S. soldier.

The fighting is part of a 5-week-old crackdown by the Iraqi government and U.S. forces on Shiite militia factions. The clashes have brought deep rifts among Iraq's Shiite majority and have pulled U.S. troops into difficult urban combat.

But Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, shows no indication of easing the pressure on militia groups, including the powerful Mahdi Army led by al-Sadr.

Iraqi and U.S. forces are pressing deeper into Sadr City, and al-Maliki has been seeking to increase leverage on Iran, which is accused of training and arming some Shiite militia groups. Iran denies the claims.

A five-member Iraqi delegation was sent to Tehran this week to try to choke off suspected Iranian aid to militiamen.

Shiite militiamen have used Sadr City as a base to fire barrages of missiles and mortar rounds at the Green Zone, which houses the U.S. Embassy and much of the Iraqi government.

Turkey Announces 150 Kurdish Rebels Killed

The Turkish military says a raid in northern Iraq earlier this week killed more than 150 Kurdish rebels.

The military said Saturday it successfully hit all its targets in a three-hour air operation on Mount Qandil. The raid ended early Friday.

The military had said earlier that its warplanes bombed the Kurdish rebel group PKK deep inside Iraq but had not given casualty figures.

The PKK took up arms in 1984 in their bid for self-rule in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast. The fighting has killed tens of thousands of people.

The Turkish military has launched several air assaults on PKK targets in northern Iraq in recent months.

In Memoriam

Capt. Andrew R. Pearson, age 32, of Billings, Mont., was killed April 30, 2008 by an IED in Baghdad. He was with the 4th Infantry out of Ft. Hood, Texas.

He was married with four children.

His father, Ron Pearson, of Lockwood, Mont., said in an interview Friday that his son had believed in the mission in Iraq and "gave his all for America."

Also killed in the explosion was 21-year-old Spc. Ronald J. Tucker of Fountain, Colo.

As of Friday, May 2, 2008, at least 4,065 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.


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