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IED Kills U.S. Soldier; Nine Terrorists Die In Firefight

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 3, 2005 – A 1st Corps Support Command soldier was killed and another was injured May 2 when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle during a patrol south of Baghdad International Airport, military officials in Baghdad reported today.

The names of the soldiers are being withheld pending next of kin notification.

In other news from Iraq, U.S. soldiers completed Operation Blast-2 on May 2. Aimed at shutting down improvised explosive device producers, the operation was conducted about 60 kilometers west of Diwaniyah City.

Two people suspected of anti-coalition forces activities were detained during the operation, and devices that could be used as booby traps were confiscated.

Meanwhile, U.S. forces killed nine terrorists during a May 2 firefight east of Qaim. Six coalition troops were wounded in the exchange. All were reported to be in stable condition. A 6-year-old girl was wounded during the firefight. The child's injuries weren't life-threatening, and she and one wounded terrorist were evacuated for medical treatment.

Three other terrorists were killed in an ensuing air strike that targeted the area. Coalition forces found bogus identification cards, foreign currency, and other evidence of direct ties with the Zarqawi terrorist network as well as with networks outside of Iraq, officials said.

Officials also announced today that during an April 28 raid in Baghdad, Multinational Force Iraq troops seized a letter written by terrorist Abu Asim al-Qusaymi al-Yemeni, addressed to "the Sheik." Analysts believe the letter, dated April 27, was meant for terrorist mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi because some followers refer to him as "the Sheik." Zarqawi, who's being hunted by U.S. forces, is the Jordanian-born leader of al Qaeda operations in Iraq.

While the letter praises "the Sheik" for being "a thorn in the mouth of the Americans," the main thrust of the letter addresses low morale, weakening support for the war against America, and the incompetence of many terrorist leaders operating in Iraq.

Along with the letter, an undated document was found, listing targeting information and sketch maps for kidnappings and bombings. Due to the pressure by Iraqi and coalition forces, officials said, Zarqawi relies on his cell leaders to conduct operations while he is forced to evade being killed or captured.

MNF-I forces killed five terrorists and captured three as a result of the raid. Abu Rayyan, one of the five terrorists killed by coalition forces, was the Saudi leader of a Baghdad-based car-bomb cell. Rayyan also served as the lieutenant to the terrorist Abu al-Abbas, who allegedly is responsible for planning a failed attack on the Abu Ghraib prison in early April.

The cell members all had documents, weapons, ammunition and fake identification cards, and more were found inside the buildings in which the terrorists were operating, officials said.

Those captured in this raid are providing information on the composition and intentions of a significant support and operations cell associated with Zarqawi, officials said. No coalition forces were injured or killed during the raid.

Two Bulgarian soldiers are dead after their Humvee rolled over today near Basra. One soldier died at the scene, and the second died at a Basra hospital after being transported for treatment, officials said. They were traveling between Camp Virginia, Kuwait, and Tallil, Iraq, as part of a convoy from 3rd Battle Group of the Multinational Division Central-South. No hostile activity involved, officials said.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and U.S. Central Command news releases.)

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U.S. Central Command
Multinational Force Iraq

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