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Car Bombs Kill U.S. Soldiers; Iraqi Forces Begin Offensive

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 28, 2005 – Two Task Force Liberty soldiers were killed today in separate car-bomb attacks in Iraq, military officials in Baghdad reported.

In the first attack, a suicide car bomber killed one soldier near a coalition base near Balad at 11:40 a.m. Another soldier was wounded. The second soldier was killed when a car bomb exploded near a combat patrol west of Tikrit at about 4:15 p.m. Two others were wounded in that attack.

The wounded soldiers were taken to coalition medical facilities, and officials said their injuries are not life-threatening. The names of the soldiers who were killed are being withheld until their families are notified.

Meanwhile, the military announced another joint military offensive aimed at rooting out insurgents in the country by U.S. and Iraqi security forces.

Iraqi security forces and about 1,000 U.S. Marines, sailors and soldiers from Regimental Combat Team 2 are taking part in Operation Saif, which is Arabic for Sword. The operation began early this morning along the Euphrates River between the cities of Haditha and Hit in Iraq's Anbar province.

The joint team recently wrapped up Operation Spear in Karabilah, killing dozens of terrorists during the five-day operation.

About 100 Iraqi soldiers are fully integrated with Marine and Army units during the current operation, officials said.

In other news from Iraq, U.S. military officials in Mosul reported today that more than 800 new Iraqi policemen crossed paths, as new recruits flew off to the Jordanian Police Academy June 27 and newly trained policemen arrived in northern Iraq the previous day.

Some 330 Iraqi policemen arrived in Mosul following an eight-week training course at the Jordanian Police Academy. The course incorporated training on basic police work, including firearms training, driver training, and hand-to-hand combat, officials said. Another 481 recruits departed Mosul to begin their training to become Iraqi police.

Elsewhere, military officials reported the arrest of dozens of suspected terrorists as a result of military operations and tips from local citizens.

Task Force Liberty soldiers detained five suspects, three of whom were arrested after soldiers followed a trail of wires from the roadside to a house near Duluiyah on June 27. The soldiers searched the house and found three AK-47 assault rifles, a shotgun, small-arms ammunition, a suitcase of Iraqi currency, and 25 identification cards.

Two other suspects were detained earlier in the same area after being found with shovels along the shoulder of the road. The military said one of the men arrested tested positive for contact with explosives.

In Baghdad, Iraqi police and Task Force Baghdad soldiers arrested 12 suspected terrorists after an attack on a joint patrol that killed an Iraqi police officer June 27.

And, a suspected terrorist was arrested June 27 shortly after an improvised explosive device detonated in Baghdad. Soldiers immediately searched the area and detained a suspect after finding a weapon and three magazines of ammunition. Officials reported that five Task Force Baghdad soldiers were wounded in the attack.

Joint operations in Baghdad June 20-25 resulted in the arrest of 31 other terror suspects, officials said.

In other news, Iraqi soldiers acting on tips from Iraqi citizens captured 21 terror suspects June 27 in central and western Baghdad. Those arrested were suspected of being part of an ambush on coalition forces in central Baghdad.

A second tip helped Task Force Baghdad soldiers detain 16 more terror suspects, and two more were nabbed during a raid in western Abu Ghraib.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq, Task Force Baghdad and Task Force Freedom news releases.)

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