Iraqi and US forces killed five al Qaeda fighters and captured 149 suspects, including two senior leaders, during operations in Iraq’s North over the past three days. In Mosul, an Iraqi soldier shot and killed two US soldiers and wounded six others during a joint patrol in the eastern part of the city.
Iraqi forces killed five al Qaeda fighters and rounded up 67 suspected al Qaeda operatives and insurgents were in the northeastern province of Diyala. Nine local al Qaeda emirs were captured “in an underground bunker used for torturing and beheading captives,” AFP reported, while five operatives were killed when troops raided a weapons cache.
Iraqi forces captured two senior al Qaeda in Iraq leaders, including Riyad Wahab Hassan Falih, who was described as “the number-one butcher.”
“Iraqi forces received intelligence on a very dangerous terrorist known as the number-one butcher who was responsible for a beheading squad that slaughtered innocent people,” an Iraqi general told AFP. Falih “also supervised the training of terrorists specializing in beheading Iraqis.”
Iraqi police and soldiers also detained Ahmed Hassan al Azawi, an al Qaeda emir, or leader, in the Khalis region in Diyala.
In Ninewa province, a joint Iraqi police and Army force detained 66 “wanted men” during raids in southern Mosul on Nov. 11. Sixteen al Qaeda fighters, including a Syrian, were captured during raids in western Mosul the day prior.
Al Qaeda in Iraq has retreated to the rural regions of Diyala province and is attempting to hold onto the city of Mosul in Ninewa. Diyala and Ninewa are two of the four remaining provinces that have yet to be transferred to Iraqi control. Fourteen of Iraq’s 18 provinces are under the control of Iraq’s security forces.
Iraqi soldier kills two US troops in Mosul
Two US soldiers were killed and six more were wounded by an Iraqi soldier during a joint patrol in Mosul, Multinational Forces Iraq reported.
“Initial reports indicate the attacker was an Iraqi soldier who was hiding in a building when he engaged the patrol,” the US military said in a press release. US troops returned fire and killed the attacker.
An Iraqi official claimed a US soldier insulted the Iraqi trooper by slapping him on patrol, but the US military denied this. “There was no argument,” said. Major General Mark Hertling, the commander of US forces in the North. “There was no spitting or cursing between the individuals. In fact there was not even a conversation between the Iraqi soldier who was shooting and the soldiers who were shot.”
“This attack is believed at this time to have been conducted by a lone Iraqi soldier,” said Colonel Bill Buckner, a spokesman for the Multinational Corps Iraq. “The other IA soldiers in the area immediately came to the assistance of the CF and provided medical evacuation. The coalition forces involved in this incident have worked with the IA unit for a long time in strong partnership and we will uncover what happened leading up to the incident.”
The US military has launched an investigation.
The Mosul incident is a rare case of direct fighting between US ad Iraqi forces. Tens of thousands of US troops are partnered with Iraqi soldiers and police unit in hundreds of combat outposts and joint security stations throughout Iraq.
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