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Iraq Remains Dangerous for U.S. Troops; Security Operations Continue

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 27, 2003 – Several U.S. troops were killed by hostile action or accidents in Iraq over the past few days as U.S., coalition and Iraqi operations to enhance law and order in that Middle East country continued.

Two U.S. Army soldiers were killed and nine injured during a May 27 firefight with hostile forces near Fallujah, according to a U.S. Central Command press release. The release noted the aggressors attacked the American troops with rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire from a mosque, which is a violation of the law of war.

The U.S. soldiers' response killed two enemy troops, according to the release, while six were captured.

CENTCOM also reported that another soldier drowned May 26 after diving into an aqueduct located south of the Iraqi town of Kirkuk.

Also on May 26, the command reported that one American soldier was killed and three injured when a Humvee apparently ran over a land mine or unexploded ordnance. In a separate incident on the same day, CENTCOM reported that a collision between a U.S. forces' Humvee and a tractor-trailer killed one American soldier and injured two.

In addition, a U.S. military convoy was attacked May 26 near Hadithah, about 120 miles northwest of Baghdad, according to Central Command. One American soldier was killed and another was wounded during the attack, a command release stated, during which the enemy employed rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine guns.

CENTCOM also reported that one American soldier was killed and another injured May 25 in southern Iraq during an apparently accidental explosion at an Iraqi ammo dump. The American troops were pulling guard duty at the facility at the time of the incident, according to a press release.

The killed and injured soldiers' names were being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

Meanwhile, CENTCOM noted that U.S. and coalition operations to improve security throughout Iraq continue. Coalition forces are actively conducting patrols to eliminate crimes against people and property, weapons sales, explosives and black market goods such as fuel, a command release stated.

For example, CENTCOM reported that U.S. soldiers from the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment shut down an automobile "chop shop" during a May 26 raid in Baghdad. And 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, soldiers seized two Fedayeen paramilitary leaders during a recent raid near Bayji.

The command also reported that U.S Marines from the 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, recently captured two Iraqis wanted by the coalition during a cordon and search operation.

And United Kingdom troops reportedly broke up an Iraqi family feud recently, according to a CENTCOM release. The U.K. forces detained two Iraqis and seized several AK-47 automatic weapons.

And the command also reported that coalition forces are continuing joint security patrols with Iraqi police, which improves security and provides valuable training for the Iraqi law enforcement officers.

Central Command reported that American and coalition security forces in Iraq had conducted 18 raids and more than 2,000 patrols during the past 24 hours, including 201 patrols with Iraqi police.

In fact, an Iraqi police patrol recently turned in seized weapons and money to 614th Military Police Company troops, according to CENTCOM. The U.S. MPs and the Iraqi police, the release noted, are co-manning a Baghdad police station.

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