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14 killed in new Iraq violence

Bombings and shootings killed at least 14 people across Iraq today as Iraqi troops waged a fresh battle to oust militias and pacify the capital.

A barrage of mortars killed four civilians and wounded five others in central Baghdad after a roadside bomb missed an Iraqi police patrol and killed two pedestrians, police said.

Gunmen screeched through a marketplace in southwestern Baghdad, spraying bullets into food and clothing stalls and killing three Sunni Muslim shopkeepers, a police officer said.

Another drive-by shooting targeted four guards for the Iraqi finance ministry, killing one of them.

In Mahaweel, about 35 miles south of Baghdad, more gunmen killed a Shiite cleric and his son as they were heading to a nearby Shiite shrine, police said.

Attackers shot dead a defence ministry employee on his way to work south of Baghdad, and a provincial council worker was injured in an assassination attempt in Hillah. Police said a parked car bomb killed a woman and wounded 13 people in an outdoor market in the same city, about 60 miles south of Baghdad.

The sectarian attacks continued despite a major new drive to tame Baghdad.

The Iraqi army reported killing 30 militants in a firefight late last night in a Sunni insurgent stronghold in the centre of the city, just to the north of the heavily fortified Green Zone.

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