Five members of US patrol killed; Three missing in Iraq

Sunday, May 13, 2007

A US patrol in Iraq in 2004

Five members of United States patrol were killed and 3 presumed kidnapped in Mahmoudiyah, a town just south of Baghdad, Iraq when militants attacked their patrol. Three of the killed were US soldiers. An Iraqi interpreter who was traveling with the soldiers was also killed. The fifth body has yet to be identified.

"We can establish now the identity of three of the American soldiers who were killed and the one Iraqi Army interpreter that was killed. So the identification of four of the five is now complete and the fifth one is still ongoing," Major General William B. Caldwell, chief spokesperson for the Multinational Force Iraq, said at a news conference.

Soldiers near the patrol heard the sound of explosions and gunfire at about 4:44 a.m [local time] and tried to radio the patrol, but with no success. 15 minutes after the attack, U.S. military unmanned sky drones spotted the two vehicles in the patrol on fire.

The U.S. military has launched a massive search for the soldier which includes a house-to-house search and the setting up of roadblocks on roads leading into and out of the city so that the missing soldiers will not be moved out of the city and also to prevent the militants from entering an area that the U.S. military calls the "triangle of death." The U.S. military states that the search for the soldiers will go on until they know if they are dead or alive.

The search is also going to continue into the night. "A lot of our vehicles have thermal capabilities, which sometimes work better at night than they do during the day," said U.S. military spokesman, Lt. Col. Christopher Garver.

Associated Press is reporting that the Islamic State of Iraq has claimed responsibility and said it is holding US soldiers per a statement found on an Islamic website.

The attack brings the current U.S. soldier death toll to at least 3,391.