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American Forces Press Service

Bomb Explodes at Baghdad Coffee Shop; Mine Blast Kills Soldier

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 7, 2005 At least three civilians and one Iraqi police officer were killed Dec. 6 when a terrorist's bomb exploded in a coffee shop in east Baghdad's Howra marketplace. Nine other civilians and three Iraqi police officers were wounded in the blast, officials said.

The wounded were taken to Baghdad's Kindi Hospital. Initial reports indicate a terrorist left a satchel filled with explosives in the restaurant. Iraqi police and Task Force Baghdad soldiers responded to the incident, securing the site and helping to evacuate the wounded.

Elsewhere, a U.S. soldier died Dec. 6 when his vehicle hit a land mine near Habbaniyah, Iraq, about 70 miles west of Baghdad, officials said.

The name of the soldier, who was assigned to the 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), is being withheld pending notification of next of kin. Several U.S. Army units are attached to the 2nd MEF during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

In the Yusufiyah area, south of Baghdad, four suspected terrorists were detained Dec. 4 during a joint operation conducted by Iraqi security forces and the U.S. 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, officials said.

Information gathered from an earlier mission led to the whereabouts of major contributors to anti-Iraqi attacks and terrorist activity. The information was gathered when Task Force Baghdad soldiers conducted a raid on an island in the Euphrates River Nov. 28. The troops detained two suspected terrorists, gained valuable intelligence and uncovered three significant weapons caches, consisting of 11 500-pound bomb shells, welding material, suicide vests and an improvised explosive device manufacturing area, officials noted.

Two detainees told Iraqi and coalition forces personnel about two other locations that supported car bomb and suicide vest production cells in the Yusufiyah area. Based on that information, two simultaneous cordon-and-search operations were conducted, during which Iraqi Special Forces, supported by U.S. aircraft, captured four suspected terrorists and a significant weapons cache, officials said.

"Iraqi Army units are stepping up and becoming a very effective fighting force," Army Col. Todd Ebel, commander of 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, said. "Today's destruction of these IED-making facilities is a great step in providing support to the upcoming elections."

In other news from the Baghdad area, Iraqi citizens helped U.S. forces take terrorists off the streets in the Rashid district Dec. 4. Based on tips, Task Force Baghdad soldiers captured four terror suspects and discovered a large weapons cache during a series of operations in that area, officials said. Information provided by Iraqi citizens also led to the capture of two more terror suspects during raids in western Rashid by soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment.

In another mission, soldiers from 1st Battalion, 184th Infantry Regiment, conducted a cordon-and-search operation in eastern Rashid, where they captured two insurgents and seized a sizable weapons cache. The weapons cache consisted of five AK-47 assault rifles, seven AK-47 magazines, six SKS automatic weapons, and a Russian machine gun.

In the air war over Iraq, coalition aircraft flew 58 close-air-support missions Dec. 6, Air Force officials reported today. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons provided close-air support to coalition troops in contact with enemy forces near Bayji and Mosul, officials noted.

In addition, 14 Air Force and Navy intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft flew missions in support of operations in Iraq. Also, British Royal Air Force fighter aircraft performed in a nontraditional ISR role with their electro-optical and infrared sensors.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and U.S. Central Command Air Forces Forward news releases.)

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