American, Canadian in Afghan dead
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(CNN) -- Coalition forces and militants battled on Wednesday in southern Afghanistan, a long stretch of fighting that claimed the lives of a U.S. and a Canadian soldier and more than 30 militants, according to coalition authorities.
A statement from the coalition command in Kabul and a Canadian National Defense official confirmed the coalition deaths and injuries, the wounding of three Canadians, an American and an Afghan National Army soldier.
They were transported to Kandahar province for treatment.
The coalition issued a statement describing the fighting, which it said occurred "during an enemy attack on a forward operating base" in Helmand province.
The U.S. and Canadian casualities were caused during early-morning fighting, which also left 12 insurgents dead.
Fighting continued through the daylight hours and claimed the lives of 20 more insurgents.
The engagement was called a defeat for "a large enemy element that was attempting to retreat into sanctuaries," according to the coalition statement.
Coalition forces destroyed two Taliban headquarters buildings and found "large caches of munitions as they overran the Taliban compound and the enemy fled."
The forces "destroyed the munitions, which included weapons and improvised explosive device materials, causing multiple secondary explosions and destroying the compound and all enemy military equipment inside."
This brings the number of U.S. dead in Operation Enduring Freedom to 280, including 141 in combat.
Eleven Canadians also have died in the Enduring Freedom, the war on terror campaign that started after U.S.-led forces invaded Afghanistan and toppled the Taliban government, which harbored the al Qaeda terrorists who attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001.
The incident followed other hostilities on Tuesday, including a roadside bombing in southern Afghanistan that killed four people employed by a U.S. security firm. One was South African and the other three were Afghan.
The U.S. Central Command Air Forces Forward Public Affairs issued a statement on Wednesday saying that coalition aircraft flew 26 close air support missions on Tuesday in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
These include "support to coalition and Afghan troops, reconstruction activities, and route patrols."
"A United States Air Force B-52, Predator, A-10s and Royal Air Force GR-7s provided close air support to coalition troops in contact with enemy forces in the vicinity of Gereshk," the statement said.
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