15 killed in clash between militants

Shiite militiamen loyal to radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr clashed yesterday with Sunni militants in fighting that killed at least 15 people, and three American soldiers died in separate attacks the day before, officials said.

Six Iraqis died and 12 were wounded in other attacks yesterday.

The Shiite-Sunni fighting occurred after al-Sadr’s Madhi Army militia raided a house in Nahrawan, 15 miles southeast of Baghdad, to free a fellow militiaman kidnapped by Sunni militants, said Amer al-Husseini, an aide to al-Sadr.

The Mahdi Army freed the hostage and captured two militants during the raid, but was ambushed on its way out of Nahrawan, al-Husseini said.

Police Maj. Falah al-Mohammadawi said the 15 deaths included 14 Madhi Army members and a policeman. He said 14 people were wounded, two policemen and the rest either militia members or civilians. No insurgent casualties were reported.

The incident underscores tensions among hard-line elements in Iraq’s rival religious and ethnic communities at a time when the United States is struggling to promote a political process seen as key to calming the insurgency so that U.S. and other foreign troops can go home.



Israeli official wants Iran booted from U.N.

Iran should be expelled from the United Nations after its new president said Israel should be “wiped off the map,” Israeli Vice Premier Shimon Peres said yesterday.

“Since the United Nations was established in 1945, there has never been a head of state that is a U.N. member state that publicly called for the elimination of another U.N. member state,” Peres told Israel Radio.

“There has never been such a scandal. It is impossible to ignore this and close your ears,” said Peres, a Nobel peace laureate, adding there is no place in the world body for such a country.

In a speech Wednesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said “there is no doubt that the new wave (of attacks) in Palestine will wipe off this stigma (Israel) from the face of the Islamic world.”

Ahmadinejad spoke at a Tehran conference called “The World without Zionism.”



Legislators plan special honors for Rosa Parks

Black civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks would become the first woman to lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda under resolutions prepared yesterday by lawmakers.

Parks’s refusal to give up her bus seat to a white man in Montgomery, Ala., in 1955 led to a 381-day boycott of the city’s bus system and helped spark the modern civil rights movement. She died Monday in Detroit at age 92.

The Senate approved a resolution yesterday allowing her remains to lie in honor in the Rotunda on Sunday and Monday “so that the citizens of the United States may pay their last respects to this great American,” according to a draft from the office of Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) The House was expected to consider it today.



House rejects plan to keep military bases open

The House voted overwhelmingly yesterday to allow the first round of U.S. military base closures and consolidations in a decade, clearing the way for facilities across the country to start shutting their doors as early as next month.

– Compiled from Daily wire reports

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