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Soldier Killed in Mosul; More Weapons Caches Found in Iraq

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 30, 2004 – Troops in Iraq are making continued progress in identifying and destroying weapons caches, and a Task Force Olympia soldier died of wounds received Dec. 29 after a car bomb detonated on a patrol in Mosul, Multinational Force Iraq officials reported today.

Officials said the soldier, whose name is being withheld until the family is notified, died at a military hospital of wounds received in the attack.

Meanwhile, officials reported ongoing efforts to uncover weapons caches and decrease the enemy's inventory of weapons and munitions.

In Ramadi, soldiers from an engineer battalion in the 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, discovered 18 separate weapons caches during sweeping operations Dec. 28 and 29.

Officials said the 44th Engineer Battalion, which has been serving in Iraq since August, discovered complete mortar systems, mortar and artillery rounds, rockets, explosive material used in roadside bombs, and various types of small arms and ammunition.

In Anbar province, a security element of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit detained two suspects after seizing a sizeable weapons cache while conducting security and stabilization operations Dec. 28, officials reported.

The Marines saw a speeding vehicle lose control and crash near the security element's position. On searching the vehicle, the Marines discovered 23 60 mm mortar rounds, 23 60 mm mortar fuses, an improvised 60 mm mortar system, seven rocket-propelled grenade launchers, four RPG warheads, an RPG propellant bag, four sets of body armor, two bayonets and a sandbag of 7.62 mm ammunition.

Elements of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit also found and destroyed numerous improvised explosive devices placed near the towns of Sadah and Karabilah Dec. 26, officials reported.

As the ordnance disposal detachment was working on the improvised explosive devices, three incoming rounds exploded nearby, followed by a loud message from the Riqat Mosque in Karabilah, officials said. As the Marines advanced to investigate, they received small-arms, machine-gun, and RPG fire. They saw insurgents firing machine guns from the rooftop of the mosque and others running into the mosque with weapons. The Marines returned fire, killing two insurgents, officials said. No U.S. casualties were reported.

Officials said mosques are granted protective status as places of religious worship, but lose that status when used for militant purposes.

In other news, all 11 crewmembers and passengers are accounted for after their C-130 Hercules transport aircraft suffered a mishap on landing at an air base in northern Iraq Dec. 29, Multinational Force Iraq officials reported today.

The aircraft was conducting a regularly scheduled mission when the incident occurred, and officials said there is no evidence of hostile fire. A board of certified officers is investigating the mishap.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq news releases.)

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Related Sites:
Multinational Force Iraq
1st Marine Expeditionary Force
1st Marine Division
31st Marine Expeditionary Unit
C-130 Hercules

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