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Joint Operation Kills Or Rounds Up Hundreds In Iraq

12 September 2005 -- Iraqi troops backed by U.S. forces continued a major operation targeting suspected insurgents in an Iraqi town near the Syrian border today.

The Defense Ministry official in charge of operations in Tal Afar, Abd al-Aziz Jasim, confirmed that 157 insurgents have been killed and 291 arrested since the beginning of the operations on 10 September.

The U.S. and Iraqi militaries have said that Tal Afar became a major staging post for foreign fighters infiltrating Iraq from Syria.

Prime Minister Ibrahim Ja'fari inspected Iraqi troops in Tal Afar, in defiance of a bounty of $100,000 placed on his head by an Iraqi militant group.

Elsewhere, police found seven bodies in the town of Rustumiya, southeast of Baghdad, all shot in the head. In Baghdad, six civilians died and two were wounded when gunmen attacked an office.

In Al-Fallujah, west of Baghdad, at least six Iraqi soldiers were killed or wounded by a bomb.

(compiled from agency reports)

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

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