BAGHDAD, Iraq (Mar. 26, 2008) - Coalition forces conducted an operation in Tirkrit today targeting an individual associated with al-Qaeda in Iraq and suspected of organizing car bombings for the terrorist group.
When Coalition forces arrived at the target location, they were engaged with small arms fire by a hostile force. Responding to the threat, Coalition forces returned fire and called in a supporting fixed-wing aircraft.
After the airstrike, Coalition forces continued to receive heavy enemy fire as armed terrorists ran from the target and attempted to hide in neighboring homes, using the occupants as shields. Preliminary assessment indicates that despite Coalition forces’ efforts to protect them, several civilians were injured or killed during the ensuing gun battle. The ground force treated the wounded on site and transported them to a military medical facility.
More details will be released as they become available.
"Coalition forces make every effort to protect civilians during our operations, but al-Qaeda in Iraq terrorists continue to place women and children in harm’s way while they plan and conduct their brutal attacks," said Maj. Winfield Danielson, MNF-I spokesman. "The Multi-National Force - Iraq sincerely regrets when civilians are wounded or killed and their families have our heartfelt condolences. We are working with local authorities to provide assistance."
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