Friday, March 02, 2007

80 'militants' killed, 50 captured, in battle with Iraqi forces, official says

Above: Marines load an artillery round into a M-198 during a fire mission in Anbar province last week. Officials said no U.S. troops were involved in Wednesday's battle. No word was given on civilian casualties.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Eighty militants were killed and 50 were captured in fighting between Iraqi security forces and militants in Anbar province, the violent area west of Baghdad, the Iraqi Interior Ministry said Thursday.

Iraqi police and soldiers, along with tribal leaders, battled al Qaeda in Iraq fighters in the Amriyat al-Falluja village, an Interior Ministry spokesman said.

A police official in the area, Ahmed al-Falluji, told Reuters news agency that 70 militants died in the fighting, and said three police officers also were killed. The statement from the Interior Ministry gave no information on casualties to Iraqi security forces or police.

The fighting started Wednesday afternoon when dozens of militants attacked the village, about 12 miles (19 kilometers) south of Falluja, where local tribes have taken an anti-al Qaeda stance.

Reuters said residents fled the village when the attack began and asked Iraqi security forces for help. Fighting lasted through Wednesday evening.

Three foreign fighters were among those captured.

American troops were not involved, a U.S. military spokesman in Falluja told Reuters.

Read the rest at CNN