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Iraqi insurgent group kills 18 al-Qaida fighters north of Baghdad
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11:08, November 11, 2007

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An Iraqi insurgent group has killed 18 al-Qaida fighters in Iraq and captured 16 others in clashes in Salahudin province north of Baghdad, a provincial police source said on Saturday.

Fierce clashes erupted on Friday afternoon between militants from Islamic Army, a major Sunni Arab insurgent group, and al-Qaida network fighters in Banat al-Hassan village near Samarra City, some 120 km north of Baghdad, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

The fighting that lasted several hours resulted in the killing of 18 al-Qaida fighters and the capturing of 15 others, along with the seizing of weapons and six vehicle, the source said.

The source did not say whether there was any casualty among Islamic Army members, who believed to have joined the U.S. and Iraqi forces in battling al-Qaida fighters earlier this year.

U.S. and Iraqi security forces did not interfere in the battle between the two sides, the source said, adding that the 16 captured al-Qaida fighters have not been handed over to the government forces, apparently because the Islamic Army wanted to offer a prisoner exchange for some of its members held by al-Qaida.

Some Sunni insurgent groups fought al-Qaida network in the Sunni dominated cities, including Samarra, because of its adherence to a hard line form of Islam and indiscriminate killings against both Shiite and Sunni communities.

Source: Xinhua

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