NAJAF (AFP) - A group of Iraqi Shia MPs is in Iran for talks with radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in a bid to end clashes between his fighters and troops that have killed hundreds of people, a Sadr aide said on Thursday. Sheikh Salah al-Obeidi, spokesman for Sadr in the central holy city of Najaf, said the lawmakers led by deputy parliament speaker Sheikh Khalid al-Attiya travelled to Iran on Wednesday. "The members of the parliament led by Sheikh Khalid al-Attiya went to Iran to meet Sadr there and other leaders of the Sadr movement who are in Iran to negotiate with him a way out of the crisis," Obeidi said. It was the first acknowledgement by Sadr's people that the cleric is in Iran. It was not clear whether the talks were being held in Tehran or Qom, however. Shia militiamen, mainly from Sadr's Mahdi Army, have fought fierce street battles with US and Iraqi forces since late March in Baghdad's Sadr City, the cleric's bastion in the capital. The firefights fuelled the overall bloodshed in April, with at least 1,073 people killed across the country at a time when the US military's toll also hit a seven-month high. Overnight clashes in Sadr City between American forces and Shia militiamen left another eight people killed, including two children, officials said. The military said it killed eight militants. According to data collected by the interior, health and defence ministries and made available to AFP, 966 civilians were killed in April, as were 69 police officers and 38 soldiers. April's toll was marginally lower than in March which saw 1,082 Iraqis killed. Combined figures obtained by AFP from the three ministries showed that 1,745 civilians, 159 policemen and 104 soldiers were wounded during the month. The April toll maintains the trend of rising violence that in March reversed a gradually declining trend seen from June last year. It follows 721 killed in February, 541 in January, 568 in December, 606 in November, 887 in October, 917 in September and 1,856 in August. April was also the deadliest month for the US military since last September. It lost 50 soldiers in April, according to independent website www.icasualties.org based on the deaths announced by the military so far for the month. These deaths brought the number of US troops killed in Iraq since the March 2003 invasion to 4,062. Twenty-three of the 50 American soldiers killed in April died in Baghdad in the running battles with Shiite militiamen. The fighting between security forces and Shiite fighters erupted in the southern city of Basra on March 25, and spread quickly to other Shiite areas of Iraq, particularly Sadr City. On Thursday, US military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Steven Stover said troops "positively identified" militiamen and killed eight in separate incidents overnight.He said the militants are "knowingly placing innocent Iraqis in harm's way." Iraqi premier Nuri al-Maliki has accused the militiamen of using civilians as "human shields" in attacks on security forces. The US military says that gunmen have been shooting at troops from rooftops, alleyways.  and houses, resulting in firefights in which civilians are often killed. Maliki vowed to disband the Mahdi Army and other insurgent groups. "The prime minister is disconnected from the realities on the ground. He lives in the Green Zone and the reports he receives from his advisers are not reliable," said Salah al-Igaili, a lawmaker from Sadr's political bloc told reporters. "The Sadr movement wants to settle the crisis through dialogue. It calls for the army and security forces to halt the shedding of blood." Showing pictures of wounded women and children, he accused the US forces of killing "children, old men and women" in Sadr City. Meanwhile a car bomb in central Baghdad on Thursday killed at least eight people and wounded 21, security officials said. It exploded in Karrada neighbourhood's Al-Sina'a Street as a US military patrol passed, they said.