US troops kill three Iraqis

US forces have shot dead three Iraqis after raiding a house in the northern Iraqi town of Mosul.

    US soldiers have been criticised for using heavy-handed tactics

    Following the attack on the house, occupation forces arrested six people, including three children.

    According to the US military, the three dead men were suspected

    members of a group linked to al-Qaida, but no independent confirmation of the claims was possible.

    US military officers said that during Sunday night's raid

    "suspected members

    of the Ansar al-Islam terrorist group" attacked soldiers with

    gunfire and grenades, wounding two.

    The 101st

    Airborne Division said in a statement:

    "When the soldiers attempted to enter the home the suspects

    engaged them with small arms fire and one grenade. The unit

    returned fire, then entered and cleared the building.

    Kurdish stronghold

    "The American soldiers killed three terrorists during the

    operation, and turned one male, two females and three children

    over to the Iraqi police."

    The Americans also claimed that two rocket-propelled grenade launchers, eight grenades and

    several religious books with "anti-coalition content" were

    seized.

    Ansar al-Islam, which Washington says has links to Usama bin

    Ladin's al-Qaida network, had a stronghold in Kurdish-controlled

    northern Iraq during Saddam Hussein's rule.

    Five Bulgarian and two Thai
    soldiers died in Saturday's attack

    US missiles scattered

    the group at the start of the war in April, but officials say it regrouped

    and is suspected of bombings against occupation forces

    .

    Meanwhile, a spokesman for Polish-led forces in central Iraq has said that five

    people have been arrested on suspicion of being involved in resistance

    attacks on Saturday.

    Coordinated attacks with car bombs, mortars and

    machineguns in the holy city of Karbala killed five

    Bulgarian and two Thai soldiers and 12 Iraqis.

    Resistance attacks

    Attacks on occupying troops have put pressure on some

    governments to pull their soldiers out, but both Bulgaria and

    Thailand have pledged to stay.

    Thailand said it would send its first combat troops to Iraq

    to protect its medical and engineering contingent in Karbala.

    The soldiers killed were the first Thai troops to die in action

    abroad since the Vietnam War.

    And on Sunday, two roadside bomb blasts killed two US soldiers

    in passing convoys, one in Baghdad and the other near the

    volatile town of Falluja.

    The Baghdad blast, in a busy shopping street, also killed

    two Iraqi children.

    The attacks raised to 327 the number of US soldiers killed

    in action in Iraq since war began in March

    .

    SOURCE: Reuters


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