BAGHDAD -- A leading Shi'ite politician marked Islam's feast of sacrifice yesterday by asking for God's help to smite the insurgency and warned that his governing religious bloc would not allow substantive changes to Iraq's new constitution -- a key Sunni Arab demand.
Also, US soldiers killed six insurgents in a firefight in Baghdad, including two who were wearing bombs. They arrested one man and confiscated a weapons cache the Army said included 400 pounds of homemade explosives and components to make 15 pressure-activated bombs.
Soldiers from Second Battalion, 502d Infantry Regiment had come under fire, said Specialist George Welcome of the 101st Airborne Division in a statement.
Also yesterday, the US military said seven bodies ''with evidence of torture" were found at a sewage plant.
Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, marked the Eid al-Adha holiday by calling for God's help in fighting the insurgency. He added that combating the insurgency would be the top priority of the new government formed after the Dec. 15 elections.
The cleric also heads the governing United Iraqi Alliance, a Shi'ite religious bloc with a strong lead in the elections, according to the preliminary results. But the 130 of 275 parliamentary seats the alliance is expected to win will not be enough to avoid a coalition government with smaller parties.
Hakim said any amendments to Iraq's new constitution would have to leave provincial governments strong.