US battles al-Qaida in west Baghdad

Updated: 2007-06-01 21:35

Saif M. Fakhry, an Associated Press Television News cameraman, was shot twice and killed in the turmoil in Amariyah on Thursday. Fakhry, 26, was the fifth AP employee to die violently in the Iraq war and the third killed since December.

He was spending the day with his wife, Samah Abbas, who is expecting their first child in June. According to his family, Fakhry was walking to a mosque near his Amariyah home when he was killed. It was not clear who fired the shots.

The explosion in Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, came as residents said al-Qaida is trying to regain control of the central Tahrir neighborhood from the 1920 Revolution Brigades, a group composed of officials and soldiers from the ousted regime who have allied themselves with local security forces against the terror network.

Mustafa Hadi, a 30-year-old man who lives in the neighborhood, said the insurgent group had set up several checkpoints and commandeered houses that have been vacated by Shiites and others fleeing the violence.

"These soldiers use empty houses as resting places," he said. "At night they ask the residents to light a bulb outside their homes to make it easy for them to watch the area."

Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, the leader of Iraq's largest Shiite party, meanwhile, returned to Baghdad from Iran after completing the first phase of his treatment for lung cancer, according to the Web site of the Supreme Islamic Council of Iraq.


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