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Five U.S. Soldiers Die; Accident Kills Polish Soldier

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 25, 2005 – Four U.S. servicemembers were killed in Iraq over the past 48 hours as Iraqi and U.S. forces press forward with security and stability operations in the country, officials reported.

And the military is investigating today's death of a fifth U.S. soldier, assigned to Task Force Baghdad, from a "non-battle" injury.

In the northern part of Baghdad, three Task Force Baghdad soldiers were killed and nine others were wounded today when an improvised explosive device detonated while the unit was conducting a patrol.

Another soldier assigned to 1st Marine Expeditionary Force was killed Feb. 24 while conducting security and stability operations in Anbar province.

A vehicle accident claimed a Polish soldier's life today about 1.5 kilometers south of Diwaniyah. Four other Polish Soldiers were injured in the accident and were evacuated to a coalition hospital in Baghdad, where they are listed in stable condition.

The crash happened between a Polish armored vehicle and an Iraqi bus. Polish Maj. Gen. Waldemar Skrzypczak , Multinational Division Central South commander, has appointed a special commission to investigate the accident.

The names of all the deceased are being withheld until next of kin are notified.

Military officials also reported that Operation River Blitz, launched Feb. 20, has so far led to 104 suspected insurgent arrests and the seizure of several weapons caches.

Most recently, Iraqi and U.S. forces captured 17 suspected insurgents and seized several weapons caches throughout Anbar. Officials said some raids have occurred in mosques in the area.

The military said that six people were detained after Iraqi soldiers from the Freedom Guard Battalion, Iraqi National Guard, cleared a mosque in Haqlaniya on Feb. 20. U.S. Marines from Regimental Combat Team 7, 1st Marine Division, provided security outside.

Meanwhile, Iraqi and U.S. military continued to get help from Iraqi citizens to end the violence on the streets.

North of Ramadi, a local civilian directed a Marine combat patrol Feb. 24 to an improvised-explosive device, which consisted of four 105 mm artillery rounds daisy-chained together in a brown bag hidden underneath a pile of leaves.

In southern Fallujah, an Iraqi civilian guided another Marine patrol the same day to a weapons cache that consisted of one 82 mm mortar round, seven 57 mm rounds, three 23 mm rounds and one 30 mm round.

Earlier that day, another Iraqi civilian led a Marine patrol to a weapons cache in the southeastern portion of the city. That cache consisted of one missile warhead, 100 pounds of TNT and one 120 mm mortar round.

(Compiled from Multinational Forces Iraq news releases.)

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