Ten US troops killed in Iraq clashes, attacks as new Spanish PM orders pullout
Ten US troops including at least five US marines in Iraq were killed in clashes and attacks in various parts of the country, the US Army reported Sunday.
According to St. Louis Post-Dispatch, five marines were killed and nine injured Saturday in an intense 14-hour battle with nearly 300 Iraqi fighters near the border town of Husaybah.
The report said dozens of Iraqi resistance fighters were also slain and 20 captured in the firefight.
It addedd some 300 fighters from the Sunni triangle west of Baghdad launched an offensive early Saturday against the marines in an outpost near Husaybah.
Initially, they set off a roadside bomb to lure Americans out of their base and then fired 24 mortar rounds as the marines responded to the attack, the Post-Dispatch said.
Late Saturday night, Cobra helicopter gunships were still strafing "enemy" positions around the soccer stadium near downtown Husaybah while medical evacuation helicopters carried injured marines back to Camp Al Qaim, according to the report.
Elsewhere, a US soldier died of his wounds after a convoy was hit by a roadside bomb in eastern Baghdad, the military said. The soldier was evacuated after the attack at about 10:00 a.m. (0600 GMT) on Saturday but later died of his wounds, according to a military statement.
"Three soldiers traveling in a 1st Armored Division convoy were killed during a small arms ambush" near the southern city of Diwaniyah around 7:00 pm (1500 GMT), the military said in a statement.
Another army statement, quoted by AFP, said "a soldier assigned to the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force was killed yesterday as a result of enemy action in the Al Anbar Province," west of the Iraqi capital.
Meanwhile, two British troops were wounded in southeastern Iraq when their convoy came under fire, the defense ministry said Sunday. "They were travelling in a convoy with members of the Iraqi Civil Defence Corps and they were fired upon" Saturday night in the town of Al Amarah, a ministry spokesman said.
In Spain, the new prime minister ordered Spanish troops pulled out of Iraq as soon as possible Sunday, fulfilling a campaign pledge.
Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said he acted after deciding the United Nations was unprepared to take over the occupation of Iraq - his condition for keeping Spanish troops in the country.
In his announcement, Zapatero said he had ordered his defense minister to "do what is necessary for the Spanish troops stationed in Iraq to return home in the shortest time possible."
Zapatero spoke hours after the new Socialist cabinet was sworn in. "With the information we have, and which we have gathered over the past few weeks, it is not foreseeable that the United Nations will adopt a resolution" that satisfies Spain's terms, Zapatero said. (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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