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Airstrike Hits Wrong Target, Insurgent Crackdown Continues

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 9, 2005 – An investigation is under way after a coalition F- 16 aircraft mistakenly conducted an airstrike against the wrong target south of Mosul Jan. 8, Multinational Force Iraq officials announced.

Officials said five Iraqis were killed after the F-16 dropped a 500-pound global positioning system-guided bomb on a house. The intended target was another location nearby, and was part of a cordon-and-search operation to capture an anti-Iraqi force cell leader, officials said.

The strike was part of a pre-planned air mission to support ground troops searching for insurgents in support of offensive operations in the area.

Multinational Force Iraq "deeply regrets the loss of possibly innocent lives" and is investigating the incident, officials said.

Following the strike, coalition forces in the area responded to the site to provide assistance. No collateral damage to other buildings was reported.

Elsewhere in Iraq, insurgent-fueled violence and the crackdown on insurgents continued.

A Task Force Baghdad soldier was killed today after being struck by an improvised explosive device in the Iraqi capital. The name of the soldier, killed while on patrol, is being withheld until the family is notified.

Also today, 1st Infantry Division soldiers found a body at the site where an abducted Iraqi police officer killed one of his kidnappers and wounded another. Officials said four armed individuals had taken the abducted officer to a location near Kirkuk to be executed; instead, he fired on them.

Three of the kidnappers were later arrested when the two uninjured kidnappers took the injured one to the Azadi hospital for treatment. The abducted police officer, also wounded in the attack, also received treatment.

Near Ad Duluiyah, two Iraqis died and one was injured today after they failed to stop their vehicle at a traffic control point today. Officials said 1st Infantry Division soldiers engaged the vehicle, which swerved off the road and hit a telephone pole.

Officials also confirmed that a Riyadh City Council member was kidnapped Jan. 8 near the city. Soldiers from the 1st Infantry Division reported that three individuals abducted the council member and a passenger riding with him. The kidnappers placed the two victims in the trunk of their car and fled the scene.

Near Samarra, troops from the 1st Infantry Division discovered the bodies of three males, one with identification belonging to an Iraqi police officer, Jan. 8. The other two victims had no identification on them. Officials said all three victims were blindfolded, with their hands bound behind them, and sustained several gunshot wounds to the face.

Meanwhile, officials said Multinational Force troops reported continued success in uncovering weapons caches and detaining suspects throughout Iraq.

Today, troops from 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division (Stryker Brigade Combat Team), and the Iraqi National Guard foiled a car bomb attempt in Mosul and found a large cache of weapons and munitions. Officials said the troops received a tip from an Iraqi citizen and conducted a cordon and search when they found a truck wired with explosives. They disarmed the vehicle and secured a weapons cache found in the immediate area.

The 106th Iraqi National Guard found another large cache of weapons and munitions today in Al Monsour Mosque in western Mosul. Officials said the Iraqi troops conducted a cordon and search after being tipped off about the cache inside the mosque.

Marines from the 1st Marine Division detained eight suspected insurgents and seized several weapons caches today during operations through Anbar province.

Iraqi security forces supported by U.S. Marines from the 1st Marine Division seized a weapons cache in southern Fallujah today.

Task Force Baghdad soldiers found a roadside bomb and a large cache of mortars in western Baghdad Jan. 8, officials said. The soldiers called explosive ordnance disposal team to the sites to disable the bomb and destroy the cache. No damages or injuries were reported in either incident.

On Jan. 8, officials reported that troops discovered and cleared 10 improved explosive devices and 12 weapons caches, conducted 10 cordon and searches of anti-Iraqi force facilities and detained 59 suspected insurgents.

Soldiers from 1st Infantry Division detained eight suspects at the site where they were attacked by an improvised explosive device near Tikrit Jan. 8 and another four suspects during a raid today near Bayji. Also today, soldiers with Task Force 82 detained 11 anti-Iraq forces during a cordon and search, Operation Lanthonid, near Baqubah.

Also on Jan. 8, the Marines, in support of Iraqi security forces, discovered another weapons cache in northeastern Fallujah.

Troops from the Stryker team detained nine people wanted for anti-Iraqi activity and collected a variety of weapons and intelligence items during operations Jan. 8 in northern Iraq. An Iraqi citizen provided information leading to the capture of six of the insurgents, officials said.

The Stryker team also killed one an injured another insurgent following an attack on their convoy Jan. 8. The soldiers were hit by a roadside bomb while convoying in northern Mosul and received fire from nearby insurgents following the blast. Officials said the soldiers quickly maneuvered and engaged the insurgents, killing one and injuring another.

(Based on Multinational Force Iraq news releases.)

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