US-Iraq raid, roadside bomb kill 18

Nine soldiers were also killed in a bomb attack in northern Iraq, just two weeks after Washington declared an official end to combat operations here and with no new government yet formed since a March general election.

In Fallujah, seven civilians and two Iraqi soldiers were killed in a gunfight between insurgents and a joint Iraq-US force early on Wednesday morning.

The raid was the latest sign that, while Washington declared combat officially over on September 1, US troops continue to conduct joint operations and remain exposed to fighting.

Major Rob Phillips, a US Army press officer, said the raid had been conducted to catch a “senior AQI (al-Qaeda in Iraq) leader” who was responsible for major attacks in the region and had close ties to other top AQI leaders.

He could not say whether the target was arrested, killed or had escaped. Major General Baha Hussein al-Karkhi, police chief for Anbar province, where Fallujah is located, said “a joint force from Baghdad was ordered to raid a terrorist’s house in Jbeil (central Fallujah).

“Clashes took place when the terrorists fired at the troops. Civilians were caught in the crossfire. Seven were killed and four wounded. In addition to the seven (civilians) killed, two Iraqi soldiers were also killed in the clashes.”

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