Amarah contact

From AP:

BAGHDAD (AP)--A British foot patrol came under attack in the southern city of Amarah, sparking a 12-hour battle with insurgents in the city center that left five Iraqis dead and eight British soldiers injured, witnesses and a British forces spokesman said.

Witnesses said the five Iraqis killed were members of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's al-Mahdi Army. The bodies of the dead were brought to al-Sadr's office in the town, they said.

The clashes finally ended early Sunday, a U.K. military spokeswoman said. She confirmed the eight U.K. wounded but had no information on Iraqi deaths.

Witnesses said insurgents fired mortar shells and rocket-propelled grenades at a British base Saturday night, and British soldiers lobbed flares into the night sky to illuminate -and fire upon -attackers' positions.

An Iraqi civilian working on the British base was wounded by shrapnel from an exploding mortar shell, the British military said.

The clashes started just after midday, when a U.K. army foot patrol responding to gunfire came under attack and one of its soldiers was wounded, said British Royal Air Force Squadron Leader Jonathan Arnold, a military spokesman.

Five more troops among a force trying to recover the injured soldier were also wounded, Arnold said by telephone from British forces headquarters in the southern city of Basra. Two more soldiers were injured in the fighting overnight, the British spokeswoman said. Witnesses said two British trucks were burned in the fighting.

Arnold said he had no word of injured or killed among the Iraqis fighting British troops
Good drills.

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