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American Forces Press Service

Two Marines, Up to 23 Insurgents Killed in Afghanistan Firefight

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 9, 2005 Two U.S. Marines were killed during an intense, five-hour gun battle in Afghanistan's Laghman province May 8. As many as 23 insurgents are suspected dead.

According to military officials in Afghanistan, the Marines were conducting support and stability operations in the area when they received reports of insurgent activity near their location.

As the Marines maneuvered to investigate, about 25 individuals attacked using small arms and rocket-propelled grenades. As the fighting continued the insurgents split into two groups, one of which fled to a village and the others to a cave on a nearby ridgeline.

Air Force A-10 aircraft engaged the insurgents in the cave, and a squad of Marines went to assess the situation. The two Marines were killed while clearing the cave area, military officials said.

"You did not need to meet these Marines to know them," said Col. Chris Blanchard, the officer in charge of the Marine Coordination Element at Combined Joint Task Force 76. "If you know any Marine, you know that they died courageously to protect all of us from the threat of terrorism. We mourn their deaths and extend our prayers to their families and loved ones."

The names of the deceased are being with held pending notification of next of kin.

(Compiled from Combined Joint Task Force 76 news releases.)



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