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Blast near Iraqi ministry complex

U.S. military tank guards Iraqi Foreign Ministry in Baghdad after explosion
U.S. military tank guards Iraqi Foreign Ministry in Baghdad after explosion

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- An explosion rocked the area near the Iraqi Foreign Ministry in central Baghdad Tuesday, a Coalition military spokesman said.

"It was not a bomb. We believe it was an RPG (rocket-propelled grenade)," the spokesman said.

Immediately after the blast, which occurred shortly after 11 a.m. (4 a.m. EDT), there was a fire fight between coalition forces and an unknown assailant, another military official said.

The gun battle lasted less than 45 minutes, according to American soldiers at the scene.

CNN correspondent Harris Whitbeck said U.S. forces have cordoned off the area and are patrolling the streets around the Foreign Ministry complex.

"There's no word yet on any injuries," he said.

Meanwhile, Coalition authorities Tuesday said a Shiite imam and his assistant have been taken into custody for storing weapons at a mosque -- a violation of Iraq's weapons laws -- and are in coalition custody.

Imam Mu'ayyad Al Khazraji of the Ali Al Bayaa Mosque and his assistant Abdel Jalil Wakiya were arrested Monday, according to a spokesman with the Army's 82nd Airborne Division.

He said Iraq police arrested them for having assault rifles, grenades and ammunition at a holy site. It was not immediately clear what role, if any, the 82nd Airborne had in their apprehension.

Iraqi police found four AK-47s, a bag of grenades, as well as .50-caliber ammunition at the mosque, according to coalition authorities.


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