US and Iraqi forces kill 250 militants in Najaf fighting

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

According to an official of the Iraqi Interior Ministry, U.S. military and Iraqi army troops killed an estimated 250 militants in heavy fighting over control of the Shia holy city of Najaf. According to an Iraqi Major General, 10 militants were captured. The dead and captured were part of a group of 600 militants based outside of the city who planned to take Najaf, attack pilgrims coming for the Shia holiday of Ashoura, and kill senior Shi'ite clerics, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani among them.

During the fighting, gunmen crashed a U.S. military helicopter with a missile. The two crew members were killed, and their remains were later recovered, according to a military statement. Three members of the Iraqi forces were killed in the fighting, and 15 were wounded, according to an Iraqi police colonel.