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Iraqi Forces Seize 120 Suspected Insurgents

26 March 2005 -- Iraqi officials say Iraqi soldiers backed by U.S. helicopters captured at least 120 suspected militants in a raid just outside the Shi'a Muslim holy city of Kerbala early today.

Iraq's Defense Minister Hazim Sha'lan al-Khuza'i told Reuters news agency that several suspected insurgents were also killed in what he described as a "very successful" operation.

Explosives, car bombs, and rocket-propelled grenades were also reportedly seized.

There has been no confirmation of the raid from the U.S. military.

Al-Khuza'i suggested that the suspected militants were planning to attack Kerbala, which next week will draw hundreds of thousands of pilgrims for Arbain, a major Shi'a religious ceremony.


Copyright (c) 2005. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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