Dozens killed, wounded in Mosul fighting

US troops backed by warplanes have clashed with fighters in the Iraqi city of Mosul, after being attacked by bombs and rocket-propelled grenades.

    Mosul has seen increasing anti-US violence

    Military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Paul Hastings said a truck

    bomb exploded near a US military outpost in Mosul

    on Wednesday, and a second bomb attack targeted a US patrol responding to the first blast.

    The patrol also had to negotiate several roadside bombs and when it

    reached the combat outpost, it came under attack from

    about 50 fighters firing assault rifles, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades.
     
    "Close air support was called in. Initial estimates are 25 enemies killed

    ," Hastings said.

    He said 15 US troops were wounded in the clashes, none of whom

    had returned to active duty.

    Deadly attacks

    Witnesses said the first attack was a bomb in a fuel truck that was

    detonated at a house in Mosul that had been occupied by US

    troops since last month, when anti-US fighters overran several

    police stations in the city and looted them of weapons and equipment.

    Ruaa Ahmad, an independent Iraqi journalist in Mosul, said half of the building collapsed following the huge explosion.

    "An eyewitness also confirmed that another car bomb exploded outside the building," she said.

    The US military has acknowledged that security has deteriorated

    badly in Mosul - Iraq's third largest city - and says more

    American troops will be sent there before the 30 January elections.

    In the deadliest single attack on Americans since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, an attack on a US base in Mosul killed 22 people, 18 of them US personnel, last week.

    The second deadliest attack also happened in Mosul in November

    2003, when two Black Hawk helicopters collided and crashed

    after coming under fire, killing 17 US soldiers.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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