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Coalition Kills 26 Insurgents in Iraq, Aids Anbar Tribe

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 26, 2006 – Coalition forces conducted several operations yesterday that resulted in the deaths of 26 insurgents, and supported an Iraqi tribe under attack by al Qaeda today, military officials in Iraq announced.

Al Qaeda terrorists attacked the Abu Soda tribe in Sofia today, officials reported. After establishing positive identification, coalition forces conducted air strikes and fired artillery at al Qaeda forces in support of the tribe.

The insurgents attacked through a tribal area checkpoint and engaged the Abu Soda, burning homes and killing tribe members using small-arms fire and mortars. Both al Qaeda and the Abu Soda suffered casualties, although the exact numbers are unknown, officials said.

No coalition or Iraqi security forces casualties were reported, officials reported.

In other action today in Iraq, coalition forces operating near Baqubah engaged and killed four armed terrorists and detained 11 suspected terrorists during a raid that targeted individuals associated with al Qaeda.

A weapons cache containing a mortar system, rocket-propelled grenades, machine guns, AK-47 assault rifles and fragmentation grenades was discovered when troops searched the area, officials said. The weapons were destroyed on site.

One of the 11 terrorists detained was hiding in a house dressed as a woman, pretending to nurse a baby, officials reported.

North of Baghdad yesterday, coalition forces killed 12 terrorists traveling in three vehicles.

The troops were en route to detain one suspected terrorist associated with manufacturing car bombs and helping foreign fighters enter area, and found him traveling with 11 associates, officials said.

As coalition forces approached the vehicles, the 12 armed terrorists ignored warning shots and attempted to maneuver on the ground force. Coalition forces engaged the vehicles, killing all of the terrorists, officials said.

In three simultaneous raids near Taji yesterday, coalition forces killed 10 other terrorists after taking small-arms fire and conducted an air strike on a bomb-making factory, officials reported.

During the exchange of fire, a pregnant woman and a teenage man were injured. Both were treated on the scene and then evacuated to coalition medical facilities for additional treatment. The man died shortly after arriving at the hospital. The woman was treated for minor injuries and is expected to be released today, officials said.

After the fighting, coalition forces conducted a thorough search of the target area and discovered significant weapons caches. Included in those caches were rocket-propelled grenades, machine guns, anti-aircraft weapons, pipe bombs and detonation cord. Coalition aircraft destroyed the caches.

Elsewhere in Iraq, soldiers from the 6th Iraqi Army Division conducted a patrol in Hurriya on Nov. 24 in response to media reports that four mosques were being burned in retaliation for car-bomb attacks in Sadr City the previous day.

The soldiers found the al Muhaimen mosque intact with no evidence of any fire at the location.

While investigating the al Meshaheda mosque, the patrol took small-arms fire from insurgents. The patrol returned fire, and the insurgents fled the area. A subsequent check of the mosque found it intact, with no evidence of a fire, officials said.

About two hours after the operation began, a local civilian told the patrol that armed insurgents had thrown a gas container into the al Nidaa mosque, setting it on fire. The patrol pursued the insurgents, but lost contact with them.

The local fire department was called and extinguished the fire shortly after it was reported. The mosque’s entry way sustained smoke and fire damage.

An alleged attack on a fourth mosque remains unconfirmed, military officials said. The patrol also was unable to confirm media reports that six Sunni civilians were allegedly dragged out of prayers and burned to death Nov. 24. Neither Baghdad police nor coalition forces have reports of any such incident.

In Khalidiyah yesterday, an insurgent suicide car-bomber killed two children, one adult civilian and one coalition servicemember at a vehicle checkpoint northwest of the city, officials reported. The car-bomber also was killed in the explosion.

Nine civilians and a coalition servicemember also were injured in the attack. The civilians were taken to an Iraqi medical facility in Fallujah.

Residents of Khalidiyah also alerted Iraqi leaders of a bomb in a local building and requested coalition help in defusing it yesterday. When that effort failed, precision artillery fire was used to destroy the building.

Nearby residents were temporarily evacuated from the area to ensure their safety.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)

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