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Suicide Car Bomb Kills U.S. Soldier in Baghdad

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 9, 2005 – A terrorist detonated a car bomb near a Task Force Baghdad convoy today, killing one U.S. soldier and wounding two others in central Baghdad, Iraq, U.S. officials announced.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Iraqi police question an eyewitness to the vehicle-borne improvised explosive device attack on a U.S. convoy in the Rusafa district of Baghdad Aug. 9. One U.S. soldier was killed and two were wounded from the attack. Army photo

(Click photo for screen-resolution image)

The car bomb exploded next to the convoy as it was stopped at a crowded intersection waiting for traffic to clear. Officials added that there were a number of civilian casualties. The bomber also died in the blast.

An Iraqi army battalion and local firefighters and emergency medical technicians responded to secure the area and evacuate casualties.

Elsewhere, a U.S. Marine assigned to 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), was killed in action Aug. 8 by small-arms fire during combat operations in Ramadi. No further details were available.

The names of the deceased servicemembers are being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

In other news from Iraq, Iraqi security forces and U.S. Marines from Regimental Combat Team 2 discovered a bomb in a building in Haqliniyah on Aug. 8 during Operation Quick Strike, military officials said.

Three 155 mm artillery rounds, weighing more than 100 pounds apiece, were wired to a desk inside the building. Marines determined the explosives could not be removed safely, so the bomb was destroyed in place.

Marines also discovered a car bomb factory with six vehicles rigged with explosives in varying stages of completion in northern Haqliniyah on Aug. 8. All the rigged vehicles were destroyed, and the Marines observed secondary explosions, indicating the presence of explosives, officials said.

In a separate incident, Iraqi soldiers and U.S. Marines found five roadside bombs close to one another on a road in Haqliniyah. The explosives were a combination of artillery rounds and improvised bombs. All the ordnance was destroyed in place with no casualties to coalition forces or civilians or damage to property.

The intent of Operation Quick Strike, officials said, is to interdict and disrupt terrorists and foreign terrorists' presence in the Haditha, Haqliniyah, and Barwanah areas.

So far, 27 suspected terrorists have been detained for questioning in Operation Quick Strike.

Elsewhere, Iraqi and U.S. soldiers worked together Aug. 7 to find two weapons caches hidden in western and southern Baghdad.

The combined patrol found the first cache while conducting a cordon-and-search operation in the western Baghdad district of Ghazaliyah.

At 7:30 a.m., soldiers uncovered three rocket-propelled-grenade launchers, three mines, and several trash cans buried near a canal. The combined patrol continued to search the area around the canal and found a fully completed roadside bomb, a variety of bomb-making materials, and protective mask parts.

Iraqi and coalition forces found a second cache after their combined patrol came under terrorist small-arms fire at around 10:15 a.m. in southern Baghdad. No coalition forces were injured, and the patrol identified two houses the terrorists were using to launch the attack.

While Task Force Baghdad soldiers secured the area around the houses, Iraqi soldiers entered and searched both homes. The attackers had fled, but the soldiers found one mortar tube with eight mortar rounds and a rocket-propelled grenade in one of the two houses.

In other combat operations, Iraqi police and Task Force Baghdad soldiers raided a building in a marketplace in the Ghartan district of southern Baghdad just before 1 a.m. Aug. 7. As the soldiers were securing the area, a terrorist on top of the building being raided fired at them. The patrol returned fire, killing the terrorist, and Iraqi police entered the building. The police found four terror suspects inside and took them into custody for questioning.

In other Iraq news, coalition forces destroyed a house in Baghdad Aug. 6 after confirming that terrorists were using the structure as a storage site for improvised explosive devices.

A detainee captured earlier in the week provided credible information that the house was purchased as a safe haven for terrorists as well as for storage of weapons and explosives. Coalition forces discovered that the house contained timing devices, detonation systems and improvised explosive devices.

Before conducting the operation, coalition forces cleared all civilians from the area and temporarily moved personal property to a safe distance as a precautionary measure. Explosive ordnance disposal technicians then destroyed the house, resulting in several secondary explosions.

"Those who recruit, encourage and send suicide bombers on their missions have no interest in improving the lives of the Iraqi people," U.S. Army Col. Bill Buckner, a spokesman for Multinational Corps Iraq, said. "Their only interest is to instill fear among the population and to create unrest as the country works towards self-government."

In a related operation prior to the destruction of the house, EOD troops destroyed a vehicle after discovering it was rigged for use as a suicide bomb. Coalition forces inspected the vehicle and realized that the trigger could only be activated by the driver while inside the car. One terrorist was detained at the location of the car bomb.

No civilians were harmed in either operation.

Elsewhere in Baghdad, Iraqi civilians took unusual action to protect coalition forces after a car-bomb attack Aug. 6.

After U.S. medics treated the wounded at the scene in the Sumer al Ghadier District, local residents constructed a hasty barricade with trees, bricks and anything else available to protect the soldiers from additional danger.

"This is the first time that I can remember where Iraqi civilians actually built a barrier to protect my soldiers," U.S. Army Lt. Col. Steven Merkel, commander of 1st Battalion, 9th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, said. "The soldiers are still talking about the helpful actions of the local community and have asked to go back to the neighborhood to thank those responsible."

Capt. David Ahl, 1-9 FA information operations officer, said, "It became very obvious that the Iraqi people are tired of terrorist activity. When I saw them putting up barricades to protect us after the (car bomb) exploded, I knew right then that the days of terrorist activity are counting down fast."

The Baghdad citizens not only helped to physically protect the soldiers, but also were forthcoming with valuable information about the area, which led to the apprehension of a man suspected of involvement in a previous car-bomb attack.

"The continued commitment of the Iraqi people to help their Iraqi security forces and coalition forces demonstrates, more than ever, that they are growing increasingly intolerant of the violence brought on by the terrorists and more eager to play a positive role in the future of Iraq," Merkel said.

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

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Multinational Force Iraq

Click photo for screen-resolution imageIraqi army soldiers search for suspected terrorists in Baghdad, Iraq, July 29. U.S. Army soldiers of 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry Regiment, 256th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, were on a cordon-and-search mission with Iraqi army soldiers to capture and detain suspected terrorists. Photo by Staff Sgt. Jorge A. Rodriguez, USAF  
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