US Army: 43 Shiite fighters killed near Najaf
U.S. occupation soldiersfought a gunbattle overnight with Shiite fighters near the holy city of Najaf to the south, killing 43 of them and destroying an anti-aircraft system belonging to the Shiite forces, the U.S. military in Baghdad Tuesday said.
The battle, which started around 9:45 p.m. Monday close to Najaf and involved helicopter gunships, lasted several hours, a military spokesman said.
On Monday, outside Najaf, Shiite fighters in cars fired rocket-propelled grenades Monday at a U.S. position, witnesses said. Apache helicopters and U.S. troops opened fire and set the cars ablaze.
The clash came as around 200 U.S. troops and military police made their first deployment inside Najaf, moving into a base that Spanish soldiers were vacating.
The U.S. military will take over security duties throughout Najaf province and the neighboring province of Qadisiyah after the withdrawal of Spanish, Dominican and Honduran forces this month, said a Polish spokesman, whose country's forces lead multinational peacekeepers in the area. (Albawaba.com)
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