Saturday, May 12, 2007

5 dead, 3 missing as 7 soldiers and Iraqi interpreter come under attack in Mahmudiyah

Soldiers with A Battery, 2nd Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) pull security during the search of a farmhouse outside Mahmudiyah on March 27

BAGHDAD (AP) - Seven U.S. soldiers and an Iraqi army interpreter came under attack Saturday morning during a patrol in a Sunni insurgent stronghold south of Baghdad, leaving five dead and three missing, the military said.

Troops were searching for the three missing, using drone planes, jets and checkpoints throughout the area, according to the statement. Soldiers were also asking local leaders for information.

After the pre-dawn attack near Mahmoudiya, which is about 20 miles south of Baghdad in a Sunni insurgent stronghold dubbed the Triangle of Death, nearby units heard explosions and a drone plane later observed two burning vehicles, the statement said.

Troops who arrived later found five of the soldiers dead. The other three members of the patrol were gone, according to the statement, from Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, the chief U.S. military spokesman in Iraq.

The military refused to specify whether the Iraqi interpreter was among those killed or among the missing, citing security.

"Make no mistake: We will never stop looking for our soldiers until their status is definitively determined, and we continue to pray for their safe return," Caldwell said.

The attack occurred nearly a year after two American soldiers went missing following a June 16 attack in the same area. Their bodies were found tied together with a bomb between one victim's legs several days later.

Read the rest at the Guardian

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