25 insurgents killed in Baghdad

By Xinhua

Baghdad : The US troops backed by aircraft killed 25 suspected Al Qaida fighters and detained five during operation in Diyala province northeast of Baghdad, the US military said Wednesday.

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The troops conducted a three-day operation that ended Monday near the town of Mukhisa in the province, in support for a major operation dubbed "Operation Arrowhead Ripper" in Diyala, the military statement said.

Gunmen attacked a US patrol along Diyala River near the town of Baquba, prompting the troops to fire back and called in air support, killing an estimated 25 suspected insurgents and wounded two, the statement said.

"Searches of the area during the operation uncovered weapons caches containing fire extinguishers rigged as improvised explosive devices, mortar rounds, rocket-propelled grenade and small arms," it said.

The troops also detained five suspected insurgents for alleged involvement with Al Qaida network in the area, it added.

On June 19, more than 10,000 troops, including 2,000 Iraqi soldiers and policemen, backed by US aircraft, launched the massive assault to hunt for the Al Qaida militants operating in and around Baquba, some 65 km northeast of Baghdad.

Baquba is the capital of the volatile Diyala province and is the stronghold of the extremist Sunni militants of Al Qaida.