Correction to This Article
In a Web posting Saturday, it was incorrectly stated that a blast that killed 17 Iraqi soldiers occurred near Fallujah. The blast was near Baqubah, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad.

17 Iraqi Soldiers Killed in Fallujah Blast

By Jonathan Finer and Hasan Shammari
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, December 3, 2005; 6:09 PM

BAGHDAD, Dec. 3 -- Insurgents ambushed a joint patrol of U.S. and Iraqi forces north of Baghdad Saturday morning, killing at least 17 Iraqi soldiers a day after the U.S. military reported the deaths of 10 Marines in a bomb attack on their foot patrol outside Fallujah.

The ambush Saturday in Udhaim, 80 miles north of Baghdad, also wounded six Iraqis, some of them severely, according to Maj. Anwar Kadhim Jafari, an intelligence officer from the Iraqi Army's 1st Battalion. No American casualties were reported in the incident.

The apparently well-planned ambush began when a roadside bomb was detonated near a convoy of the joint patrol. When the Iraqis left their vehicles to search the area, gunmen opened fire on them, Jafari said. After the attack, the insurgents set fire to four Iraqi Army vehicles and commandeered two others, he said.

On Friday, the U.S. military reported that 10 Marines died Thursday when a makeshift bomb blasted their foot patrol outside the western city of Fallujah. It was the deadliest attack on U.S. forces in almost four months.

Eleven other Marines were wounded by the explosion, which came from a device made up of several large artillery shells, the military said. Seven of the injured Marines returned to duty.

Several Fallujah residents said the only large explosion in the city Thursday was a nighttime attack on a U.S. convoy near a cement factory, east of downtown. It appeared to be a car bomb, according to Abdul Karim Salah, a factory worker on the night shift who said he witnessed the explosion. The military later denied that an attack took place near the factory but declined to provide any further details about the incident in which the Marines were killed.

A militant group calling itself the Islamic Army in Iraq claimed responsibility Saturday for the attack on the Marines, posting a video on the Internet that shows what it said was the deadly explosion.

The brief video shows a Humvee, flanked by what look like U.S. troops, traveling slowly down a street when an explosion engulfs the vehicle, sending clouds of dust into the air and bystanders fleeing, Reuters news agency reported.

The authenticity of the video could not be verified, but it was posted on a Web site generally used by insurgents to claim attacks.

The Islamic Army in Iraq, one of several insurgent groups, is believed to be linked to the banned Baath Party of former president Saddam Hussein.

In other developments, the military reported Saturday that U.S. and Iraqi forces captured 20 suspected insurgents on Thursday -- most of them in north-central Iraq -- and that U.S. troops freed two Iraqi kidnapping victims in western Baghdad.

Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division caught two men who were injured while trying to emplace a roadside bomb that exploded prematurely near Daquq, a statement said. One of the men later died of his wounds at a local hospital. A search of their vehicle turned up a second makeshift bomb, which was destroyed by an ordnance disposal team, the statement said.


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