On the fifth anniversary of Baghdad's capture by U.S. Marines, at least 20 people were reported killed in fighting in Sadr City, the capital's main Shiite stronghold.

The fighting between Shiite militiamen and Iraqi and U.S. forces came as the U.S. command announced the deaths of five more soldiers. That raised the number of American troop deaths to 17 since Sunday.

American troops also have been hit hard. The U.S. military's death announcements do not usually specify the locations of attacks. But many -- including a soldier who was killed by a roadside bomb Wednesday -- have been in northeastern Baghdad, a mainly Shiite area that would include Sadr City.

One other soldier died Tuesday in a roadside bombing to the east of Baghdad and another Wednesday to the north of the capital. Two soldiers assigned to the division in Baghdad also died Wednesday of injuries not related to combat.

The fighting in Sadr City has taken a heavy toll on civilians, forcing hundreds to flee the district amid food shortages and fears of getting caught in the crossfire.

Military spokesman Brig. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi said that 82 militants, 36 civilians and 37 soldiers had been killed since March 16 in fighting in Baghdad, mostly in Sadr City.


State Department officials, who have been harshly criticized for moving too slowly to allow Iraqi refugees into the United States, issued new immigration figures Wednesday and suggested they may reach a goal of admitting 12,000 refugees into the country by September.

Government figures show 1,570 Iraqis have been cleared to enter the country since January and another 5,000 have been approved for entry within the next three months. An additional 8,000 have been contacted for interviews.

"The numbers that have arrived so far are well below the number we expect to see in the coming months," said Ambassador James Foley, the U.S. coordinator for Iraqi refugee issues.

To reach the Bush administration's goal, a total of 9,373 refugees must be admitted by September.


An Iraqi judicial panel has ruled that an Associated Press photographer should be set free, two years after the U.S. military imprisoned him on terrorism charges. However, the military declined to say whether it would release the photographer, Bilal Hussein, and he might still face a separate criminal charge.

The panel did not pass judgment on Hussein, 36, but ruled that he was covered by an Iraqi amnesty law. U.S. forces detained Hussein in April 2006, in Ramadi, where they charged him with conspiring with insurgent.