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Attack kills two U.S. soldiers


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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Two U.S. soldiers were killed and nine wounded Tuesday when their unit came under fire in Fallujah, about 43 miles (70 kilometers) west of Baghdad, U.S. Central Command said.

"A hostile force of unknown size attacked a U.S. Army unit here early this morning with rocket-propelled grenades and small arms," a Central Command statement said.

"U.S. Army soldiers responded decisively with concentrated fire from Bradley fighting vehicles, crew-served weapons and small arms. They killed two of the attackers and captured six others."

An Army Medevac helicopter was damaged when a Bradley vehicle accidentally ran into it while moving into position to return fire. Wounded soldiers were evacuated to military aid stations in the area.

According to Central Command, initial reports were that the attackers fired from a mosque.

Last Wednesday, at least two Iraqis were killed in Fallujah when gunmen opened fire on a U.S. patrol in the city center with rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles.

At the end of April and the beginning of May, 17 civilians were killed and seven soldiers wounded in three days of anti-American protests in the city.

Tuesday's attack followed two incidents the day before that left two American soldiers dead and four wounded, military officials said.

In the first action, one soldier was killed and another wounded when their convoy was ambushed by attackers firing small arms, rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine guns, U.S. Central Command said.

The attack took place near Haditha, about 120 miles (192 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad, as the eight-vehicle convoy from the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment carried supplies from Asad Air Base to Qaim.

In the second incident Monday, one soldier was killed and three wounded near Baghdad International Airport when a man "came up out of a ditch" and threw a satchel charge explosive device under their Humvee, said Capt. David Connolly, an Army spokesman.

Including Tuesday's attack in Fallujah, 166 Americans have died, 119 of them by hostile fire, since the U.S.-led coalition entered Iraq in March.


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