Iraqis Occupy Governor's Office in U.K.-Run Basra


April 5 (Bloomberg) -- Iraqis loyal to Shiite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr today occupied the governor's office in the U.K.- controlled southern city of Basra, a U.K. military spokesman said, after rioting Sunday in Baghdad and Najaf left at least 40 Iraqis and eight U.S. soldiers dead.

U.S. Marines began an offensive in Fallujah, Anbar province, AFP reported, citing the military. The town has been a source of resistance to the U.S.-led occupation, and four American contractors were killed there last week. In another operation, two U.S. Apache helicopters fired on targets in Baghdad, Reuters said, citing witnesses. One marine was killed today in Anbar, the U.S. military said on its Web site.

The taking of the Basra governor's office was peaceful and British officials are in talks with the occupants, a military spokesman, who asked not to be identified, said by telephone from Basra. There were no reports of any casualties, nor of the number of people inside the building, he said.

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