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Three Marines Killed; Operations Continue in Anbar Province

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 10, 2005 – Three U.S. Marines died in Iraq May 9 as combat operations continue in the country's Anbar province.

The three Marines were assigned to Regimental Combat Team 8, 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward). Two died from injuries resulting from indirect fire in Karmah. The third died when an improvised explosive devise detonated in Nasser Wa Sallam.

The Marines' names are being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

In other operations on May 9, Marines, sailors and soldiers from Regimental Combat Team 2, 2nd Marine Division, launched an offensive aimed at eliminating terrorists and foreign fighters from northwestern Anbar province. The area is a known smuggling route and sanctuary for foreign fighters and a staging area for attacks on key cities such as Baghdad, Maradi, Fallujah and Mosul, military officials said.

Acting on intelligence reports indicating the enemy's location, soldiers from the Army's 814th Multi-Role Bridge Company constructed a pontoon bridge across the Euphrates River.

"Marines crossed over from the southern banks to the north and are now operating in the northern Jazirah Desert and are in pursuit of the enemy," a Multinational Force Iraq news release stated.

Terrorists attacked a Marine convoy near Qaim with small-arms fire, rocket-propelled grenades, roadside bombs, and two suicide car bombs. A Marine M1A1 Abrams tank destroyed one suicide car bomb. The second car bomb damaged an armored Humvee.

No Marines were killed in the attack. Both car bombers died in the engagement, and 10 terrorists surrendered to Marines. Officials said the 10 are being held at a nearby detention center. Coalition and Marine Corps aircraft also participated in the operation.

Tips from Iraqi civilians have led U.S. soldiers from Task Force Liberty to discover three large munitions caches in recent days.

The two most recent were discovered near Kifri at about 1:30 p.m. May 9. An Iraqi man led soldiers of the 278th Regimental Combat Team to one cache, which contained 335 assorted artillery rounds, 13 mortar rounds and four rockets.

The same man then directed the soldiers to a different site, where 78 artillery shells, nine mortar rounds, and two rockets were found.

A day earlier, soldiers had discovered another large cache south of Samarra. This cache contained 17 107 mm rockets, 35 115 mm tank rounds, 14 130 mm artillery shells, eight 155 mm artillery shells, and an assortment of mortar, anti-aircraft and artillery rounds.

Task Force Liberty explosive ordnance disposal personnel destroyed the caches.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq news releases.)

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Multinational Force Iraq
2nd Marine Division

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