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Iraq Transition

U.S. troops battle insurgents in Baghdad mosque

Story Highlights

• U.S. troops kill two insurgents in clashes around Baghdad mosque
• Powerful Shiite leader's son is unharmed after convoy ambush in Baghdad
• Video posted on Web site says insurgent "cabinet" formed
• U.S. solder killed in a rocket attack on a U.S. base
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Two insurgents were killed in a firefight Friday with U.S. troops in Baghdad after militants fired on the soldiers from a mosque, the U.S. military said.

The incident took place in southwestern Baghdad, and the gunshots came from the Husayniayh al-Bayaa mosque. The troops were from the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division.

Attack helicopters fired about 100 rounds of 30 mm ammunition during the firefight, the U.S. military said.

After the firefight, more soldiers arrived and secured the scene.

Soldiers went through nearby buildings and "found chemicals in a house believed to be bomb-making materials," the military said.

A suspect was detained. U.S. troops didn't enter the mosque, but Iraqi troops did.

Convoy of Shiite leader's son attacked

Six security guards were wounded Thursday night when gunmen ambushed the convoy of a top Shiite leader's son, said Haytham al-Hussaini, a spokesman for the office of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, or SCIRI.

Al-Hussaini said Ammar al-Hakim was unharmed after his convoy was struck in southern Baghdad's Dora neighborhood.

The leader's son was headed to Baghdad from Najaf when his convoy came under attack. Al-Hussaini said the guards engaged "these criminal gangs" before driving out of the area.

SCIRI, one of the most powerful political parties in Iraq, is part of the Shiite-led ruling coalition called the United Iraqi Alliance.

The younger Al-Hakim's detention by U.S. troops sparked mass protests in February.

Video says insurgent 'cabinet' formed

The insurgent umbrella group that recently claimed responsibility for the execution of 20 security officers and the bombing of the Iraqi parliament complex says it has chosen a "cabinet."

A video allegedly from the Islamic State of Iraq, posted on an Islamist Web site, listed the names of 10 people.

One name stood out: The successor to the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, listed as the "war minister."

Sheikh Abu Hamza al-Muhajer, also known as Abu Ayyub al-Masri, succeeded Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, killed in Iraq's Diyala province last year by a U.S. airstrike.

CNN cannot determine the authenticity of the video.

Other developments

  • U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, in Iraq to meet with commanders and assess the progress of the Baghdad security crackdown, said Friday he disagrees with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's declaration that the war has been "lost." Reid, a Nevada Democrat, made his remarks in the Senate on Thursday, a day after nearly 200 people were killed in six Baghdad bombings. (Full story)
  • U.S.-led coalition forces found seven tanks of chlorine during a raid near Mahmoudiya in Babil province, the U.S. military said. Insurgents have used chlorine gas in car bombs in recent weeks.
  • The U.S. military said Friday it had detained a suspected leader of al Qaeda in Iraq during a raid in Tarmiya, north of Baghdad. Residents tipped off the troops that insurgents were based in two houses in the area, according to the military. Twenty-five others also were detained.
  • Authorities in two major northern Iraqi cities have imposed vehicle bans because of security threats. Gen. Najem Abdullah, mayor of Tal Afar, said a ban was imposed Thursday evening because insurgents have been distributing leaflets threatening to carry out chemical attacks against civilians. In Mosul, authorities announced an indefinite vehicle ban at 8 p.m. Thursday.
  • A Task Force Marine soldier was killed and two others were wounded Thursday night when a rocket struck their base south of Baghdad, the U.S. military said. The U.S. military death toll in the Iraq war stands at 3,316, including seven Department of Defense civilians. Sixty-fine have died in April to date.
  • CNN's Jomana Karadsheh contributed to this report


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