View Full Version : Iraq Gun Battle Kills 5 U.S. Marines, 16 Insurgents, U.S. Says

11-16-05, 12:44 PM
Iraq Gun Battle Kills 5 U.S. Marines, 16 Insurgents, U.S. Says

Nov. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Five U.S. Marines and 16 insurgents were killed in Iraq today during a coalition operation to clear enemy fighters out of Ubaydi, near the border with Syria, the U.S. military said in an e-mailed statement.

About 2,500 U.S. forces and 1,000 Iraqi soldiers began an offensive to take control of Ubaydi two days ago. The U.S. military said by yesterday it had cleared most of the city and killed about 80 insurgents, though still faced ``pockets of resistance'' in the newer part of Ubaydi.

The Marines who died today were assigned to Regimental Combat Team 2 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), the U.S. statement said. No further details were available.

The operation is the latest in a series carried out this year by the U.S. and Iraqi militaries against insurgents and foreign fighters in Iraq's western al-Anbar province, a center of insurgent attacks on the U.S.-led coalition. Cities in al-Anbar targeted by the coalition since June include Hit, Hadithah, al-Qaim and Karabilah.

The Ubaydi offensive is part of Operation Steel Curtain, which started Nov. 5 in Husaybah aimed at preventing rebels from operating in the Euphrates River Valley, and of establishing a permanent U.S.- Iraqi military presence in the area, the military said. At least 3 Marines had been killed in the Ubaydi offensive before today.

The U.S. military and Iraqi government have said al-Anbar province is a gateway into Iraq for foreign fighters entering from Syria. The operation, along with others currently under way across Iraq, will help provide security for Dec. 15 elections when Iraqis will vote for a permanent parliament, the military has said.

As of 10 a.m. New York time yesterday, a total of 1,614 members of the U.S. military had been killed in action in Iraq since the March 2003 invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein, according to Department of Defense figures. About 450 others assigned to Iraq have died from other causes, such as illnesses and vehicle accidents.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Alex Morales in London at amorales2@bloomberg.net.