- Title: IRAQ: Attack on U.S. patrol in Iraq leaves 5 dead, 3 missing
- Date: 13th May 2007
- Summary: ORCHARD OF DATE-PALM TREES
- Embargoed: 28th May 2007 13:00
- Location: Iraq
- Country: Iraq
- Topics: Defence / Military
- Reuters ID: LVAEGG5PT6JHEJDA5MQ08NG40KJW
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: Coalition forces have been performing a routine patrol in the area of Mahmudiya, a bastion of Sunni Arab militants including al Qaeda, on the same day that U.S. soldiers were attacked.
Coalition forces were searching the area of Mahmudiya on Saturday (May 12), combing orchards and palm groves, just hours after seven U.S. soldiers and an Iraqi army interpreter were attacked nearby.
The soldiers performed their routine search about five kilometres (3 miles) away from the attack that killed five and left three missing, according to the U.S. military.
The attack, one of the worst against American ground forces since a U.S.-backed security crackdown began in Baghdad three months ago, took place near the town of Mahmudiya, in the same area where two U.S. soldiers were abducted by al Qaeda insurgents last year before their mutilated bodies were found.
U.S. forces launched a search operation for the missing soldiers following Saturday's dawn attack, using helicopters, unmanned drones and jets and setting up checkpoints in the area.
Major-General William Caldwell, chief military spokesman for U.S. forces in Iraq, was quoted in a statement as saying that 15 minutes after Saturday's explosion a U.S. drone observed two burning vehicles. A rapid-reaction force arrived in the area one hour after the attack, Caldwell said.
The attack comes at a time when U.S. President George W. Bush is facing increasing pressure from Democrats to set timetables for withdrawing American troops in a war that has killed more than 3,300 U.S. soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqis since the invasion in 2003.
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