Army hunts Red Caps' Iraqi killers

British forces are hunting the gunmen who killed six military policemen after a violent demonstration that left four Iraqis dead.

Iraqi gunmen -- enraged by the deaths of their countrymen at the hands of British soldiers -- killed two Red Caps during the demonstration in Majar al-Kabir yesterday and then stormed a police station, killing four more, local police and witnesses said.

One British soldier was shot and killed at the station's doorway .

The other three died after Iraqi gunmen stormed the station and cornered them in a single room, said Salam Mohammed, 30, a member of the municipal security force.

"We hope that we'll be able to bring those who are guilty of these attacks to justice," Paul Bremer, the top US official in Iraq, said in Baghdad .

British military officials provided few details on the violence, which came on the same day another ambush wounded eight British troops, three of them seriously. At least four Iraqis were killed and 15 injured in the clashes.

British military officials have held talks with seven members of the town's administrative council in the nearby city of Al Amarah, seeking the killers' surrender, said Qassem Nimeh, an official in the mayor's office in Majar al-Kabir.

But a British Army spokeswoman, Captain Gemma Hardy, denied reports that the army had issued an ultimatum demanding the surrender of the killers within 48 hours.

"That is absolutely, categorically not the case," Hardy said. "The whole situation is being investigated. We are actively seeking them."

The violent demonstration was the second in two days, apparently sparked by soldiers' searching for heavy weapons in villagers' homes, said Abu Zahraa, a 30-year-old market trader. "This angered the people because they went into women's rooms," Zahraa said. "The people considered it an invasion of privacy."

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