Four more Shiite cult militants arrested in Iraq

Karbala, Iraq - Four members of a Shiite messianic cult which fought a fierce battle with security forces earlier this week were arrested in the central Iraqi shrine city of Karbala.

Karbala police chief Major General Mohammed Abu al-Walid said 25 militants were arrested across the city in a series of raids. Four of those detained were from the "Soldiers of Heaven" group, the militant Shiite cult.

At least 263 of the cult's fighters were killed and 502 arrested during fierce clashes with Iraqi forces near Najaf on Sunday.

The leader of the militia, who claimed to be a descendant of the Prophet Mohammed, was killed in the raging 24-hour battle that pitted gunmen against Iraqi security forces backed by US aircraft.

Walid said the latest crackdown included 45 ambushes, 330 foot patrols and the use of nearly 260 police vehicles.

"The operation was implemented in different regions of the province and relied on accurate intellegence information," he said.

Among those arrested was an engineer suspected of planting roadside bombs, called IEDs -- improvised explosive devices -- by US-led coalition forces in


Walid said police also managed to thwart an attempt to kidnap an Iraqi citizen.