Nine dead in gunfight after US-Iraq raid to nab Qaeda leader

Last Updated: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 - 23:27

Fallujah: Violence killed 18
people in Iraq today, including nine in a firefight that broke
out during a joint US-Iraq raid in search of a top Al-Qaeda
leader in the former rebel base of Fallujah.

Nine soldiers were also killed in a bomb attack in
northern Iraq, just two weeks after Washington declared an
official end to combat operations here and with no new
government yet formed since a March general election.

In Fallujah, seven civilians and two Iraqi soldiers
were killed in a gunfight between insurgents and a joint
Iraq-US force early this morning.

The raid was the latest sign that, while Washington
declared combat officially over on September 1, US troops
continue to conduct joint operations and remain exposed to
fighting.

Major Rob Phillips, a US Army press officer, said the
raid had been conducted to catch a "senior AQI (Al-Qaeda in
Iraq) leader" who was responsible for major attacks in the
region and had close ties to other top AQI leaders.

He could not say whether the target was arrested,
killed or had escaped.

Major General Baha Hussein al-Karkhi, police chief for
Anbar province, where Fallujah is located, said "a joint force
from Baghdad was ordered to raid a terrorist`s house in Jbeil
(central Fallujah).

"Clashes took place when the terrorists fired at the
troops. Civilians were caught in the crossfire. Seven were
killed and four wounded.

"In addition to the seven (civilians) killed, two
Iraqi soldiers were also killed in the clashes."

Others sources gave different tolls.

Phillips said six people were killed, while Fallujah
police director Brigadier General Faisal al-Essawi and the
city`s media chief Mohammed Fathi put the death toll at eight
civilians.

Essawi said of the eight killed there were two women
and two children, while the other four included a former
colonel in the Iraqi army during the rule of now executed
dictator Saddam Hussein.

A vehicle ban was imposed on the city, and the area
that was raided was cordoned off by security forces, one
reporter said.

Another US spokesman, Major Bryan Woods, said an
investigation would be started into the shootings.

Meanwhile, on the outskirts of the main northern city
of Mosul, nine Iraqi soldiers were killed when the minibus
they were travelling in was struck by a roadside bomb.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 - 23:27

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