US army kills 40 in a day

Baghdad - US troops killed more than 40 Iraqis in one day, including 25 "criminals" who had attacked US soldiers, the military reported on Monday in Baghdad.

On Sunday, the US Air Force killed 25 "criminals" that had previously attacked US soldiers, the military said.

Most of the deaths occurred during clashes between the Mahdi Army militia of Shi'a cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and combined US Army and Iraqi government troops.

Al-Sadr's militia had been battling US and Iraqi forces since Tuesday, but the cleric called on his fighters during the weekend to withdraw from the streets of the southern city of Basra and other provinces

The Iraqi government hailed al-Sadr's move.

Also on Sunday, a curfew was partially lifted in Baghdad.

The military also said that one US soldier was killed by an explosive on Sunday north of Baghdad and another soldier died from injuries he received on Saturday from an explosive in Anbar province.

The army said near Balad city on Sunday six police officers had been killed by al-Qaeda operatives who were lured into an ambush. - Sapa-dpa