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Four U.S. Soldiers Killed; Iraqi Forces Find Weapons, Arrest Suspects

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 21, 2005 – Three U.S. soldiers were killed and eight were wounded this morning when an improvised explosive device detonated in Baghdad, Iraq, today, during the medical evacuation of a soldier. The soldier had been injured in a convoy accident caused by a civilian vehicle.

U.S. officials also reported today that small-arms fire killed an American soldier in Mosul Feb. 19. No details on the incident are available.

In other news, Iraqi Intervention Force soldiers with the 24th Battalion, 6th Brigade arrested four men, including a Syrian, transporting weapons in Baghdad Feb. 20, according to U.S. officials.

The soldiers confiscated a heavy machine gun, a rocket-propelled grenade with two anti-personnel missiles, and an unspecified number of AK-47 machine guns and magazines. The soldiers also discovered a computer, compact discs and pamphlets speaking out against the Iraqi security forces.

During a house search, Iraqi soldiers near Fallujah also discovered weapons and radios that could be used to eavesdrop on coalition forces.

In Mosul Feb. 19, Task Force Freedom stood up as Army Brig. Gen. Kevin Bergner took command from Army Brig. Gen. Carter Ham. Army Lt. Gen. John Vines, Multinational Force Iraq commander, officiated at the transfer of authority.

Ham commanded Task Force Olympia, built mainly around forces from Fort Lewis, Wash. Task Force Freedom is built around the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment from Fort Irwin, Calif. The 1st Brigade (Stryker), 25th Infantry Division remains the major combat unit.

U.S. officials also reported today that terrorists kidnapped Raaeda Al-Wazan, an Iraqi Media Network worker, in Mosul Feb. 20. Terrorists contacted the station and threatened to continue to target employees, according to coalition officials in Iraq. The Mosul IMN station has been targeted by terrorists several times in the past week because it has broadcast programs highlighting the negative effects of terrorist activity in Mosul.

Finally, a tip from Iraqi citizens led to the Feb. 20 capture of an Egyptian man suspected of building improvised explosive devices. According to a release, coalition soldiers detained the individual in central Mosul. Upon his detention, the individual was found to have an Egyptian ID card in his possession and explosive residue on his hands. The suspect is in custody, and no coalition injuries were reported.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq press releases.)

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