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Terrorists Strike Italian Headquarters in Iraq; More Weapons Seized

By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 12, 2003 – At least 22 people were killed today when two vehicles crashed the gate of the Italian military headquarters in Nasiriyah, Iraq, and one exploded.

News reports say the death toll is expected to rise. The blast leveled the building, and people are presumed to be trapped under the rubble. Eight Iraqis and 14 Italian military police and soldiers accounted for the preliminary death toll number.

Late Nov. 11, a Task Force Iron Horse soldier died when his convoy was struck by an improvised explosive device north of Baghdad, coalition officials said. No one else was injured in the blast. The soldier's name is being withheld until next of kin are notified.

Iraqi police found and defused an improvised explosive device in an ambulance Nov. 11, U.S. Central Command officials said. When police tried to stop the ambulance, the driver sped off, causing an accident. Three occupants fled on foot, and the bomb was discovered when the abandoned vehicle was searched.

Meanwhile, in overnight raids that concluded this morning, 4th Infantry Division soldiers took 36 suspected insurgents into custody, including the man believed to have shot down a U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopter near Tikrit on Nov. 7, and five suspected accomplices. Six U.S. soldiers died aboard the Black Hawk.

Combined Joint Task Force 7 officials reported that Task Force Iron Horse soldiers conducted 225 patrols and four raids Nov. 10, seizing five AK-47 assault rifles, 19 rifles, one pistol, two grenades, two 40 mm rounds of anti- aircraft ammunition, 1,500 155 mm artillery shells, 150 S-5K rockets, 800 BM-21 rockets and two improvised explosive devices. Officials said 28 of the patrols were joint operations conducted with the Iraqi police, the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps and the country's Border Guard.

Also on Nov. 10, information from an Iraqi citizen led Task Force Iron Horse soldiers to a large weapons cache in Kirkuk. The soldiers found 5,000 artillery rounds ranging from 100 mm to 130 mm caliber shells, 1,000 82 mm mortars, 500 rounds of 60 mm mortars, 300 57 mm rockets, and 300 BM-21 rockets. Ammunition similar to this has been used against coalition forces in improvised explosive devices and attacks throughout Iraq, officials said.

In three separate Nov. 9 incidents, Task Force Iron Horse soldiers found a cache of 800 rockets south of Baji, another 150 rockets north of Tikrit, and 1,500 rounds of 155 mm artillery shells north of Balad.

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