11 killed in clashes between gov't forces, Qaida militants in Iraq's Diyala

08:19, September 14, 2010      

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A total of 11 were killed, 12 wounded and 27 suspected insurgents captured in more than two days of clashes at an al-Qaida stronghold in the volatile province of Diyala in eastern Iraq, the police said.

Seven al-Qaida militants and four Iraqi security members, including an army officer, were killed and 12 security members wounded in the clashes fought by Iraqi army and police forces backed by U.S. helicopters in the area of al-Hadeed, west of the provincial capital city of Baquba, some 65 km northeast of Baghdad, which also resulted in the capturing of 27 individuals believed to be al-Qaida members, a source from Diyala's operations command told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

The troops took control of all the Qaida positions inside an orchard in the rural area and defused many roadside bombs planted on the roads leading to insurgents' stronghold, the source said, adding that the Iraqi forces were still chasing the Qaida militants who fled their stronghold area.

Meanwhile, an Iraqi police commander told the Iraqi official television of Iraqia that his commando members fought fierce clashes with al-Qaida militants during the past 24 hours.

"Iraqi troops from the Quick Reaction Brigade affiliated to the Interior Ministry have carried out a mop-up operation during the past 24 hours, killing and capturing dozens of terrorists," Staff Major General, Nu'man Dakhil, told the state-run channel of Iraqia.

Earlier in the day, a provincial police source confirmed to Xinhua that U.S. helicopters at dawn opened fire on the al-Hadeed area, without giving further details.

Since Saturday, al-Hadeed area was the scene of clashes between insurgents and Iraqi security forces which resulted in the killing of two security members and an insurgent and the wounding of six policemen and soldiers, according to earlier reports from the province.

The U.S. military did not immediately confirm that its helicopters have attacked targets of al-Qaida militant group in Diyala.

Diyala province, which stretches from the eastern edges of Baghdad to the Iranian border east of the country, has long been a stronghold for al-Qaida militants and other insurgent groups since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 despite repeated U.S. and Iraqi military operations against them.

Violence is still common in Iraqi cities as security situation deteriorated, causing a setback to the efforts of the Iraqi government to restore normalcy in the country about two weeks after the U.S. military announced withdrawal of its combat troops from the war-torn country.

Source: Xinhua


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