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Land Mine Kills Soldier; U.S. Forces Kill 14 Insurgents

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 12, 2005 – A Task Force Baghdad soldier died of injuries sustained July 11 when his patrol west of Baghdad hit a land mine, officials reported today.

The soldier's name is being till the next of kin are notified. The incident is under investigation.

In other news, coalition forces from Task Force Freedom in Iraq killed 14 enemy troops and detained several others during July 10-11 offensive operations.

Soldiers from 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, killed 10 terrorists during one attack July 11 and four more in another attack July 10, both in Tal Afar. In addition, soldiers from the regiment's 1st Squadron detained one individual suspected of terrorist activity during a raid west of Tal Afar on July 11. No U.S. injuries were reported during the operations.

Also, soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, detained two individuals suspected of terrorist activity during a cordon and search operation in eastern Mosul July 11. And soldiers from 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, detained two individuals suspected of terrorist activity while patrolling in western Mosul July 10.

During a routine patrol in the Ameriyah District July 10, soldiers of Alpha Company, 4th Battalion, 1st Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, noticed a black BMW parked in the driveway of a typically unoccupied house .

The soldiers stopped to talk to a local citizen about it and observed that the man's demeanor seemed very suspicious. With assistance from soldiers of 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry Regiment, the Iraqi soldiers searched the house and found a bag of raw C-4 plastic explosives and four other containers believed to be filled with explosives.

Also hidden in the house were 20 hand grenades, one machine gun, a sniper rifle, an AK-47 assault rifle, a loaded 9 mm pistol with a silencer, and 500 to 700 rounds of ammunition.

A team of explosives experts safely removed the munitions. "It was a joint Iraqi and U.S. patrol. The Iraqi soldiers took the lead," said Capt. Mike Benoit from the 69th Infantry. "They were aggressive and used their insight, which led us to the cache." In south Baghdad, Iraqi police officers and U.S. soldiers responded to a July 10 car bomb attack against a mosque by securing the area around the shrine and evacuating injured worshippers to a local hospital. The blast injured 15 people, including at least one child.

"Iraqi insurgents and foreign fighters have nothing positive to offer Iraq," said Lt. Col. Clifford Kent, a Task Force Baghdad spokesman. "They deliberately choose to strike civilian targets to maximize the number of dead and wounded. The violence of the insurgents steals from all Iraqis the chance for employment, prosperity and to worship peacefully."

Also on July 10, an East Baghdad resident alerted an Iraqi Army unit that a terrorist was preparing to fire a rocket. The soldiers of 1st Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, responded immediately and cordoned off the suspected site.

After searching the area, the Iraqi soldiers discovered the rocket ready to be fired from an improvised launcher. The terrorists were not seen or captured, but the Iraqi soldiers safely disarmed the rocket launcher and took it back to their base.

"The terrorists must have gotten scared by our presence. If he would have fired the rocket while we were in the area, he would have been captured by us," said an Iraqi soldier.

"The capture of the rocket before it was fired probably saved the lives of numerous civilians. The terrorists often miss their intended target causing death and destruction to innocent civilians," he said.

And Task Force Baghdad soldiers conducted a precision raid against a terrorist safehouse just west of Abu Ghraib July 10.

Two of the 10 occupants were identified as terrorists and were taken into custody for questioning. Earlier, coalition forces manning a checkpoint in another area of Abu Ghraib saw four men taking pictures of local national workers passing through the checkpoint. The soldiers also noticed that the men seemed to be paying close attention to the procedures for passing through and to the identity of the Iraqi workers.

The unit detained the men, searched them, and found six cell phones including two camera phones. One camera phone had numerous pictures of the Iraqi workers. The four men were taken into custody for questioning.

"Today we took two known terrorists off the street and prevented another possible terrorist attack before it could even get off the ground," said Kent. "Aggressive offensive operations by Iraqi security forces and coalition forces are taking the fight directly to the insurgents and degrading their capabilities all across Iraq."

Another Task Force Baghdad unit working in central Baghdad that day also found a bomb on a major highway that looked like a can of oil with detonation cord running from it. The soldiers secured the area and blocked traffic to keep people away. The bomb exploded before an explosives team arrived on site, but no one was injured and no property was damaged. The soldiers checked to make sure there were no other bombs in the area before re-opening the highway.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Task Force Baghdad press releases.)

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