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Two Marines Killed in Operation Matador

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 12, 2005 – Two Marines were killed May 11 when their amphibious assault vehicle struck an explosive device in Qaim, Iraq, during Operation Matador, military officials in Baghdad reported today.

The Marines were assigned to Regimental Combat Team 2, 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward). Operation Matador is a combat operation targeting Iraqi and foreign terrorists in northwestern Iraq. In other news from Iraq, coalition forces stepped up combat operations throughout Baghdad May 10, foiling three terrorist attacks, taking 23 suspected terrorists off city streets, and confiscating two weapons caches, officials said.

Two early-morning cordon-and-search operations carried out by Task Force Baghdad soldiers netted three suspected terrorists, including one specifically targeted for planning and carrying out terrorist attacks.

The largest operation of the day May 10 occurred in the Abu Ghraib district, when soldiers from B Company, 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, detained nine terror suspects belonging to a rocket cell of the Ansar al Sunna terrorist network. The insurgent cell is linked to Jordanian terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and has been connected to recent rocket attacks against coalition forces facilities and Iraqi government agencies.

In other May 10 combat operations, a Task Force Baghdad convoy struck a roadside bomb in western Baghdad. No one was injured in the blast. Soldiers questioned five local people at the site of the explosion, then caught three more suspects standing about 100 yards from the blast area when they tried to run away. All eight suspects were detained.

A U.S. patrol in southern Baghdad potentially saved the lives of Iraqi policemen and civilians when they found a bomb at the Dora Iraqi police station. An explosive ordnance disposal team was called to the site and safely detonated the bomb.

In another incident in western Baghdad, an Estonian platoon found an AK-47 assault rifle and 500 rounds of ammunition. When the Estonian soldiers questioned the landowner, the man told them he had no weapons in his home. A search of the house revealed another AK-47, 600 rounds of ammunition and two bolt-action rifles. Three suspects in the house were taken into custody for questioning.

Task Force Baghdad soldiers found another weapons cache in the Salman Pak neighborhood of southeastern Baghdad. The cache contained two rockets, each about four feet long. (Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq news releases.)

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