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Shootout at Samarra

On November 30, 2003, Iraqi insurgents wearing uniforms of Saddam Hussein's Fedayeen attacked two separate convoys using mortars, grenades and automatic weapons. The convoys were escorted by tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles from elements of the 4th Infantry Division - a tank company from 1st Battalion, 66th Armor reinforced with two squads of military police and four squads of infantry. The convoys were carrying new Iraqi currency for deposit at Samarra banks as part of the dinar exchange program.

More than 100 insurgents were believed to have taken part in the near-simultaneous ambushes attacks at around 1pm.

By the end of the confrontation, US forces claimed to have killed 54 attackers and captured eight others. Five U.S. soldiers and one American civilian were also wounded during the attack. This represented the largest number of Iraqi deaths in a single day since President Bush announced the end of major combat operations.

Conflicting claims about the number of dead later emerged with local hospital officials claiming that at least eight Iraqis had been killed during the clash, with more than 60 additional civilians being treated for wounds.

U.S. Central Command officials, however, stand by the claim that 54 attackers were killed in the Nov. 30 ambush.

Satellite Imagery (Source: Space Imaging Middle East)
Click on the small image to view a larger version

NIMA map, showing Samarra northwest of Baghdad.

Overview of Samarra

Hydro-electric dam to the west of Samarra, where seven American POW's were rescued April 14, 2003.

At approximately 11am on Nov 30, allied forces securing the route for the currency convoys were hit with two roadside bombs along this stretch of road in northern Samarra.

One convoy was attacked with rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire during the currency exchange at Samarra Bank in the southeastern part of the city. While US forces returned fire, Fijian contractors completed the exchange.

The second convoy was attacked with rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47 rifles at Al Mulya Bank in northeastern Samarra. A dozen of the attackers were observed running from the large mosque nearby. The convoy completed the exchange and then left Samarra.

As the first convoy headed north through the center of Samarra, they encountered a makeshift barricade and more attacks from nearby buildings and alleys. The vehicles immediately broke through the barricade and returned fire.

The same day as the attack on the currency convoys, another US army engineer convoy was attacked by four men in a black BMW on this street in nothern Samarra. The attackers were wounded and captured, and weapons were confiscated from their car: three AK-47's and two rocket-propelled grenades.

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