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Iraqi, Coalition Forces Foil Terrorist Attacks

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 17, 2006 – Iraqi security and coalition forces responded to several attacks in the Baghdad and Ramada areas of Iraq today, officials reported.

An Iraqi army patrol was fired upon at about 3:50 a.m. today in Adhamiyah, a neighborhood in north Baghdad, starting a protracted firefight that raged through to the early afternoon.

At about 7:45 a.m. an estimated 50 gunmen attacked a combined checkpoint of Iraqi police and U.S. forces, resulting in a call for assistance.

A force consisting of five companies of soldiers from 2nd Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army, and two quick-reaction force platoons from Multinational Division Baghdad's 506th Infantry Regiment responded.

Firefights between the terrorists and the Iraqi and coalition force elements lasted until about 1:20 p.m.

Soldiers from the Iraqi brigade continue conducting cordon and searches in the area of the firefight to root out the terrorists and secure the area.

During the course of the fight, five terrorists were killed and seven detained. Reports indicate two Iraqi soldiers have been wounded.

In other action, coalition forces responded to insurgent attacks at several locations in central Ramadi today, including the Ramadi government center and Fatemat Mosque.

The attacks, involving multiple car bombs, mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, and heavy machine-gun and small-arms fire, occurred between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. and appeared to be closely coordinated.

In one incident, Marines from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, were attacked from the mosque with RPGs, heavy machine-gun fire and small-arms fire. They returned fire, but continued to be attacked from the mosque's minaret. The Marines fired one 120 mm tank round and several 7.62 mm machine gun rounds into the minaret, after which fire from the mosque ceased.

"This is the fourth time in three-and-a-half weeks that the Ramadi government center has received attacks from the Fatemat Mosque," said Lt. Col. Stephen M. Neary, the Marine battalion's commander. "I'm extremely proud of my Marines - they only used the proportionate amount of force necessary to repel the insurgent attack."

"Coalition forces take significant measures to respect all religious sites," said Marine spokesperson Lt. Col. Bryan Salas, "but we always maintain the inherent right of self-defense. When insurgents use holy places as safe havens from which to attack coalition forces, it is important that we act quickly to defend ourselves and innocent Iraqi civilians."

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