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Iraqi, Coalition Forces Search for Weapons, Repel Attack

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 9, 2006 – Iraqi and coalition soldiers searched the Al Gafour Mosque in Hit, Iraq, yesterday after receiving small-arms fire and rocket-propelled-grenade attacks from insurgents within the mosque compound.

The combined forces established a cordon around the mosque before entering. During the cordon, they received additional small-arms fire from nearby insurgents. The forces returned fire, and then Iraqi soldiers entered and led the search of the mosque and two nearby buildings.

During the search of the buildings adjacent to the mosque, the forces found one RPG warhead, one foot of detonation cord, one propane tank packed with explosives and one acetylene tank packed with explosives. The troops detained three suspected insurgents.

An explosive ordnance disposal team determined the munitions were intended to be used as improvised explosive devices and destroyed the material. No Iraqi or coalition troops died or were injured in the attacks and subsequent searches of the mosque compound.

The U.S. Army’s 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment, is the coalition unit responsible for training Iraqi security forces and providing security to Hit, a city of about 60,000 located 35 miles northwest of Ramadi in Anbar province.

Elsewhere, Iraqi security and coalition forces came under fire Nov. 7 when anti-Iraqi forces attacked a joint Iraqi and U.S. patrol near Dugmat, a small town about 45 kilometers south of Kirkuk, and fled to a compound where the fighting continued.

One coalition servicemember died in the operation and another three were injured. Officials estimated 25 to 30 insurgents took part in the attack.

After contact, the enemy fighters dispersed in several directions. Coalition helicopters tracked and attacked one group of vehicles, while another group fled to a compound outside the town. This group was heavily armed with machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and a large stockpile of ammunition, U.S. officials said.

Coalition attack helicopters, ground troops and close-air-support aircraft engaged the enemy, destroying their vehicles and hiding positions with precision fires, killing eight, capturing 14 and neutralizing various weapons and munitions.

(Compiled from Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)

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