first_imgTwo rockets also blasted the heavily guarded Green Zone, which includes the U.S. and British embassies as well as major Iraqi government offices, but the U.S. military said there were no casualties. Much of the violence appeared to be part of the tit-for-tat reprisal killings by Sunni and Shiite extremists that have led to a dramatic deterioration of security in the Iraqi capital. The security crisis in Baghdad is expected to figure prominently when Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki meets President George W. Bush at the White House on Tuesday. U.S. officials are expected to push al-Maliki, a Shiite, to move quickly to calm sectarian tensions and abolish Shiite militias blamed for much of the violence. But the visit comes amid rising anger among Iraqis over Israel’s attacks in Lebanon, launched after Shiite Hezbollah militiamen seized two Israeli soldiers. On Saturday, the Fadhila party, which is part of al-Maliki’s Shiite alliance, urged the prime minister to call off his visit. BAGHDAD, Iraq – Two American soldiers were killed Saturday in Baghdad, seven Shiite construction workers were gunned down and five Sunni civilians were blown up, deepening the capital’s security crisis. Shiite politicians called on the prime minister to cancel his visit to Washington to protest Israel’s attacks in Lebanon. Elsewhere, U.S. and Iraqi forces backed by a helicopter gunship launched a major attack Saturday on a headquarters of a radical Shiite militia south of Baghdad, killing 15 militiamen in a three-hour battle, the U.S. said. One U.S. soldier died in the second of two roadside bombs that exploded in east Baghdad at mid-morning. An Iraqi civilian was killed by the first blast, police said. Another American soldier died Saturday evening when gunmen attacked his patrol with small-arms fire, the military said. The seven Shiite workers were killed and two were wounded when gunmen opened fire on a construction site near Baghdad International Airport, police said. Later Saturday, a mortar shell killed five civilians at a market in the mostly Sunni neighborhood of Amil in west Baghdad, police said. “Fadhila demands that the prime minister cancel his visit to the U.S. in solidarity with the Lebanese people and over what is going on there, the disasters due to the Zionist aggression amid international silence about these crimes,” party official Sheik Sabah al-Saiedi told The Associated Press.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img