US claims to kill 40 Iraqi fighters in Baqouba as two members of Iraq security forces shot dead in Kirkuk
Iraqi resistance fighters attacked US soldiers and Iraqi security forces north of Baghdad, sparking fierce overnight clashes that killed at least 40 Iraqis and injured several troops, a U.S. military spokesman said Saturday.
The fighting in Baqouba, some 50 kilometers northeast of Baghdad, started with simultaneous rocket attacks late Friday on an Iraqi police station, the governor's office and a compound housing the U.S. military's civil affairs office, said Capt. Issam Bornales, spokesman for the 1st Infantry Division's 3rd Brigade.
According to The AP, the assailants opened fire with rocket-propelled grenades and rifles, sparking small fires in each location. Fighting quickly spread throughout the city.
"This was a well-coordinated attack in certain areas, but in others just ordinary frustrated people seemed to come out and take some shots at American soldiers," Bornales told The AP.
U.S. forces also bulldozed the local headquarters of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.
U.S. forces fired heavy artillery at a group of about 100 gunmen who had gathered near a bridge leading into town, teh report added. Soldiers saw resistance fighters dragging bodies away from the scene.
The US military estimated that 40 Iraqis were killed in the violence.
The fighting had tapered off by midday Saturday, but shops remained closed and few residents were on the streets.
Separately, gunmen also attacked Iraqi security forces in the northern city of Kirkuk on Saturday, killing two and kidnapping three officers, a commander of the Iraqi force disclosed.
All five men, Kurdish officers from the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps, were manning a checkpoint south of Kirkuk when they came under attack, Gen. Anwar Mohammed Amin said. (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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