Tuesday, August 28, 2007

33 insurgents killed in airborne assault, air strikes near Khalis

Above: Protesting villagers from Khalis closed the main road between Baghdad and the northern city of Kirkuk early last week to demand stronger steps to restore security to the area. Villagers say U.S. troops fired on them, wounding 18, but the U.S. says only warning shots were fired.

U.S. and Iraqi troops killed 33 insurgents in an airborne assault and airstrikes north of Baghdad aimed at reopening a major irrigation canal that had been seized by gunmen, the U.S. military said on Tuesday.

"The pre-dawn assault, involving several hundred Iraqi and Coalition forces defeated numerous small-arms attacks throughout the day, resulting in a combined 13 insurgents killed," the U.S. military said in a statement.

"Attack helicopters and close air support ... killed 20 more," it said.

Residents in Khalis, a religiously mixed town 80 km (50 miles) north of Baghdad, told Reuters that insurgents had shovelled earth into the irrigation canal some days ago, cutting off water to farmland.

The canal is in the Kobat area, which has strong presence of al Qaeda fighters, they said.

Read the rest at Reuters/Alternet

Related Link:
Report: 18 wounded as U.S. troops fire on protestors in Khalis; U.S. says only 'warning shots' fired