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Monday, Dec. 01, 2003 at 6:10 PM
U.S. Forces Kill 46 Iraqis Attempting Ambush
U.S. Forces Kill 46 Iraqis Attempting Ambush
Sunday, November 30, 2003
SAMARRA, Iraq — American forces fended off an attempted ambush Sunday, killing at least 46 Iraqis and capturing eight others in the northern city of Samarra (search). At least five U.S. soldiers, 22 Iraqi attackers and a civilian were injured.
American troops were fighting off tightly coordinated, simultaneous attacks in the northern Iraq, the U.S. military said.
Many of the dead Iraqi attackers were found wearing uniforms of the Fedayeen (search), a militia loyal to Saddam Hussein, according to Lt. Col. William MacDonald of the 4th Infantry Division (search).
A coalition source told Fox News that one of the U.S. convoys that came under attack was transporting a significant amount of money.
An Iraqi Currency Exchange (ICE) party with "a very significant amount" of new, non-Saddam Iraqi dinar notes was being escorted by a U.S. military unit of 100, with M1A1 tanks and Bradley armored vehicles. Apache attack helicopters were also called.
"It was a well-organized and complex ambush, but they obviously picked the wrong convoy to attack. They could not have known," the source told Fox News.
The source confirmed that at least 46 Iraqi fighters were killed, 22 were wounded and eight were captured but said the toll could rise.
"Enemy casualties may be larger," the source told Fox News. "We will only know in the morning when we have a chance to survey the battleground in daylight."
MacDonald described the attack as massive and well coordinated.
"This is the largest one for our task force since we've been in theater," he said. "The 4th Infantry Division repelled multiple ambush attacks."
Mortar fire, grenades and small arms fire were used against the Americans, but there were no U.S. deaths reported. Three buildings were destroyed by the Americans during the firefight.
"It sounds like the attack had some coordination to it, but the soldiers responded, used their firepower, used tank and Bradley fire and other weapons available to them, to stop this attack and take the fight to the enemy," MacDonald said.
Two U.S. supply convoys were moving into Samarra when they were attacked with roadside bombs, small arms fire, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades. The attacks — one on the east side of the city, the other on the west — were simultaneous and appeared to be coordinated, he said.
After setting up a barricade along the route of one of the convoys, the attackers opened fire from rooftops and alleyways, according to MacDonald.
He said U.S. soldiers returned fire from several locations at each ambush, using small arms, 120mm tank rounds and 25mm canon fire from Bradley fighting vehicles. The U.S. fire destroyed three buildings the attackers were using, he said.
MacDonald said he didn't think convoy procedures needed to be altered as a result of the attack, because his troops won the battles.
"We have been very aggressive in our convoy operations to ensure the maximum force protection is with each convoy," he said. "But it does send a clear message that if you attempt to attack one of our convoys, we're going to use our firepower to stop that attack."
In a separate attack about an hour later, another convoy of U.S. military engineers was attacked by four men with automatic rifles. The soldiers returned fire, wounding all four men, MacDonald said. He said soldiers found Kalashnikov rifles and grenade launchers in their car, a black BMW.
None of the wounded Americans suffered life-threatening injuries, MacDonald said. Two sustained only minor injuries, while the other three were evacuated, along with the wounded civilian.
Samarra is 60 miles north of Baghdad in the so-called Sunni Triangle where opposition to the U.S. occupation of Iraq has been fiercest.
The news came just after another round of violence targeted the coalition in Iraq over the weekend.
Gun-toting guerrillas shot and killed two South Korean electricians and wounded two others Sunday as they drove toward a work site in Tikrit (search).
MacDonald said the attempted ambush of U.S. troops in Samarra was unrelated to the attack on South Koreans.
A day earlier, two American soldiers were killed and one injured when guerrillas ambushed them with rocket-propelled grenades; a Colombian civilian contractor for the U.S. military was killed in an ambush; and seven Spanish intelligence agents and two Japanese diplomats died in separate attacks near Baghdad (search ).
"They clearly are targeting coalition members in an effort to intimidate all allies in Iraq and discourage their participation in the reconstruction of Iraq," said Dan Senor, a spokesman for the top U.S. official in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer. "They recognize that the stakes are high for us and we realize the stakes are high too."
November was the bloodiest month for coalition forces since the start of combat March 20.
The latest deaths bring to 104 the number of coalition soldiers who have died in Iraq in November, with 79 American soldiers slain and 25 other allied soldiers.
The attacks on U.S. allies appear to be part of an effort to undercut the coalition. Guerrillas also have targeted Iraqis seen as collaborating with the occupation authorities, such as police and local officials.
The South Koreans were killed by gunmen Sunday as they rode in a passenger car, apparently to a power transmission plant they were working at in Tikrit, South Korea's foreign ministry said Sunday. The workers' company was hired by a U.S. firm to lay power lines.
South Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Lee Soo-hyuck told reporters early Monday that he wasn't sure whether the killings would affect South Korea's participation in the restructuring of Iraq.
"It is too early to comment," Lee said. "We must take time to analyze things."
The two American soldiers were killed Saturday when fighters unleashed rocket-propelled grenades and automatic fire on a task force from the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment (search), a statement from the U.S. military said Sunday.
A third American was wounded in the attack, which happened just east of Husaybah and 180 miles northwest of Baghdad.
The Spanish military intelligence officers were also ambushed on Saturday in Mahmudiyah, 18 miles south of Baghdad. Seven were killed and one escaped the assault.
On Sunday, witnesses at the scene of the ambush about 30 miles south of Baghdad, said the Spaniards had been traveling in two sport utility vehicles when men in a car behind them opened fire. One of the SUVs careened off the road into a ditch.
The occupants fled the SUV and were shot at the roadside, perhaps by a second group of attackers. On Sunday, the charred remains of the vehicle could be seen in a watery ditch at the side of the road, with villagers scavenging its parts.
Witnesses said the four men in the second SUV were also killed at the side of the road nearby, apparently by a grenade. Blood could be seen on bushes nearby, and a broken pair of glasses lay in the road.
Spanish defense minister Federico Trillo arrived in Kuwait Sunday to repatriate the bodies, which were flown to Kuwait's International Airport aboard a C-130 Hercules transport, officials in Madrid just said.
Spokesmen for Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar said the attack wouldn't cause Spain to end its presence in Iraq. Spain was one of the firmest supporters of the U.S.-led invasion to oust Saddam Hussein and sent 1,300 soldiers to help maintain order.
A Spanish diplomat attached to Spain's intelligence agency was assassinated near his residence in Baghdad on Oct. 9, and a Spanish navy captain was killed in the truck bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad on Aug. 19.
The two Japanese diplomats were killed by unidentified gunmen Saturday as they stopped to buy food and drinks at a stand outside the village of Mukayshifa on the road between Baghdad and Tikrit, Lt. Col. William MacDonald said Sunday.
The diplomats, on their way to attend a reconstruction conference, were not traveling with a military escort, MacDonald said. Their Iraqi driver was also reported killed in the incident.
In Tokyo, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi said there would be no change to Japan's plans to dispatch troops to support the U.S.-led reconstruction of Iraq. The deaths were the first of Japanese in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion.
In Baghdad, Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt said the attacks there showed the enemy was switching the focus of the violence from coalition troops to what he described as "soft targets, Iraqi targets, rather than military targets."
"It's an easier way for the enemy to achieve what he wants to achieve," he said. "We've said for several weeks that this is a clever, adaptive enemy."
Also Sunday, the U.S. military for the first time acknowledged that the single deadliest incident of the war — the collision of two Black Hawk helicopters in Mosul on Nov. 15 — may have been caused by enemy action. Until now, the military had not speculated publicly on the cause of the collision in which 17 soldiers died.
"It appears to be that one helicopter was hit by a (rocket-propelled grenade)," said Col. Joe Anderson, commander of the 2nd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division. "This is all still under investigation but it appears that there was some form of ground fire, probably an RPG that hit one which caused one to collide."
Fox News' Steve Centanni and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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|That's what I'm talkin' 'bout.
||Monday, Dec. 01, 2003 at 6:35 PM
|Yeah really ...
||Monday, Dec. 01, 2003 at 6:50 PM
||Monday, Dec. 01, 2003 at 6:57 PM
||Monday, Dec. 01, 2003 at 6:59 PM
||Monday, Dec. 01, 2003 at 7:02 PM
||leaving planet earth
||Monday, Dec. 01, 2003 at 7:48 PM
|What in the hell...
||Monday, Dec. 01, 2003 at 8:12 PM
||Monday, Dec. 01, 2003 at 10:10 PM
|This is great news
||Monday, Dec. 01, 2003 at 10:40 PM
|Ah yes body counts I remember them well.
||Tuesday, Dec. 02, 2003 at 12:18 AM
|FUCK YOU COMMIE !!
||Tuesday, Dec. 02, 2003 at 12:55 AM
||Tuesday, Dec. 02, 2003 at 3:40 AM
||Tuesday, Dec. 02, 2003 at 4:26 AM
||Tuesday, Dec. 02, 2003 at 3:01 PM
|Death Diminishes Us All
||Tuesday, Dec. 02, 2003 at 4:14 PM
||Tuesday, Dec. 02, 2003 at 6:57 PM
|NPR is on the SIDE OF THE ISLAMIC RESISTANCE
||Tuesday, Dec. 02, 2003 at 8:38 PM
|The BBC is really biased too
||Tuesday, Dec. 02, 2003 at 8:46 PM
|Gee maybe there weren't 54 or 46 or...
||Tuesday, Dec. 02, 2003 at 9:28 PM
||Wednesday, Dec. 03, 2003 at 12:30 AM
||Wednesday, Dec. 03, 2003 at 12:49 AM
|Jeez, more rational
||Wednesday, Dec. 03, 2003 at 1:04 AM
||Wednesday, Dec. 03, 2003 at 6:54 AM