Gun Battle, Airstrikes in Baghdad Kill 14

US cites ambush by Shiite militia; Sadr says victims were civilians
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 6, 2007 9:20 PM CDT
Yassir Adnan walks through his uncle's house that was destroyed in an early-morning attack in the Washash area, western Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Sept. 6, 2007. At least 14 people were killed early Thursday...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – US and Iraqi forces backed by airstrikes clashed with suspected members of Shiite militias today in a gun battle that killed 14 Iraqis and wounded nine, reports the LA Times. US officials said soldiers were ambushed by more than a dozen rooftop gunmen, but a spokesman for anti-US cleric Muqtada Sadr called the airstrikes a ploy “to terrify innocent people.”

Sadr has reportedly called a temporary end to violence, but US officials said troops were seeking extremists who were setting up roadblocks to extort money and kill Sunnis. Iraqis were sleeping on rooftops to avoid summer heat when the battle broke out. Said one bystander: “If we go downstairs, we get killed. If we stay on the roof, we get killed as well.”