Death toll mounts as US, Iraqi troops fight Mahdi Army


Story Transcript

VOICE OF ZAA NKWETA: Five people died and four were injured in missile attacks by US helicopters in Sadr City. The US military said on Thursday that four gunmen were killed in a late-night strike by Hellfire missiles, targeting a group of men firing at troops who were putting up concrete barriers around a checkpoint. Iraqi police said two of the victims in that attack were brothers aged seven and nine, and residents claim nine other people were injured in the air strike.

STREETER 1 (SUBTITLED TRANSLATION): Aircraft came from that direction and started bombing. And when people gathered to evacuate the injured people, it bombed again. The bombardment has continued since clashes started.

NKWETA: The area has seen heavy fighting in the past few days, as US and Iraqi troops have tried to push Mahdi Army militants out of rocket range of the Green Zone. Overwhelmed by persistent violence and bombardment, residents of Sadr City have begun to flee.

STREETER 2 (SUBTITLED TRANSLATION): I’m fleeing the city.

OFF CAMERA (SUBTITLED TRANSLATION): Why?

STREETER 2: Because of the bombing. Our home is on the main street. There are so many bombings.

STREETER 3 (SUBTITLED TRANSLATION): Sadr City has been besieged from all directions. We are going to and fro on foot. God doesn’t accept such a situation.

NKWETA: Taking the advice of his top commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, President George Bush announced not to order any more troop drawdowns beyond July.

STREETER 4 (SUBTITLED TRANSLATION): American troops will remain in Iraq as long as their interests and ambitions are in Iraq. Don’t think that America has come to develop or improve our country. The situation in the country is going from bad to worse.

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