Iraqi, American forces raid insurgent training camp, killing 85

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Thursday, March 24, 2005

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Iraqi and American forces raided a training camp in a remote, rural region 160 kilometers north of Baghdad on Wednesday, killing 85 insurgents. Seven Iraqi commandos were killed in the raid and six were injured, according to the US military.

In addition to placing the insurgent death toll at 85, the Iraqi government also said that between 500 and 700 Iraqi commandos took part in the raid.

After encountering heavy fire from an estimated 100 insurgents as they approached the camp, the Iraqi commandos called in support from the American 42nd Infantry Division, which sent in ground troops and attack helicopters. The battle began at approximately 11a.m. local time (0800 UTC) and lasted seven hours.

The training camp, located in a remote region near Lake Tharthar, which is adjacent to the predominantly Sunni Anbar and Salahuddin provinces, is the largest guerilla training camp that has been discovered in the war so far, according to Iraqi officials.

The insurgents had planned to attack the city of Samarra, located 55 kilometers east of the lake, with a large number of car bombs, according to the Iraqi Interior Ministry.

Iraqi officials claimed that most of the insurgents came from Arab countries, though men from the Philippines were also among the deceased insurgents. They also claimed to have captured one Algerian.

"The Arab countries are sending fighters into Iraq because they want to destroy our democratic movement," said General Rashid Flaiyeh, head of Iraqi police in Salahuddin Province, in an interview broadcast on state-run television network Al Iraqiya.

Sources