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Overnight gunfight at Baghdad bomb factory kills 5

SHARE Overnight gunfight at Baghdad bomb factory kills 5

BAGHDAD — Gunmen killed five Iraqi policemen in an overnight shootout that lasted until dawn at a suspected bomb workshop in western Baghdad, security officials said Saturday.

Later on Saturday, explosions ripped through a marketplace in Iraq's second-largest city and left emergency officials hurriedly loading bloodied bodies into ambulances.

In the Baghdad shootout, police who were tipped off by a carjacking trailed the suspects to a house in the mostly Sunni neighborhood of Saidiya, where they came under fire from an unknown number of gunmen.

The shooting lasted for hours until daybreak, when the gunmen slipped away through a rear entrance, according to two Baghdad police officers and an Interior Ministry official. Two of the attackers were nabbed later Saturday while hiding in an orchard in a suburb north of Baghdad, the officials said.

When police searched the house at the scene of the shootout, they found one gunman dead with a pistol at his side.

Seven policemen and six residents, including two women and a 14-year boy, were also wounded in the shootout, the officials said. An emergency room worker at Yarmouk Hospital confirmed the casualties.

All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

Also inside the house, police said they found a cache of bombs, chemicals and other devices to make explosives.

A minibus packed with explosives was also found in the garage, officials said, adding that there was a trail of fresh blood in the house from at least one of the gunmen.

Hours later, at least two blasts shattered the al-Ashaar market in central Basra, 340 miles (550 kilometers) southeast of Baghdad. Officials differed in the immediate aftermath on whether they were caused by bombs or a malfunctioning power generator. Television footage showed bloodied bodies being loaded into ambulances but there were no immediate reports on casualties.

Also Saturday, a policeman was shot dead at a checkpoint and two others were wounded outside the city of Fallujah, 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Baghdad, in another pre-dawn attack, according to security and hospital officials.

In the nearby restive town of Karma, militants planted bombs outside the homes of three policemen and a member of the government-allied Awakening Council. Some 15 people were wounded, but there were no fatalities, unlike in previous such attacks, officials said.

Violence has dipped dramatically in Iraq, but shootouts and bombings are still common. Attacks on Iraqi security forces have stepped up in recent months as all but 50,000 U.S. military troops head home by the end of the month.

Associated Press Writer Sameer N. Yacoub contributed to this report.