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180 Detained In US-Iraqi Sweep Near Syrian Border

A picture released by US Marines shows 08 November 2005 an Iraqi soldier watching a street of Kusaiybah during Operation Steel Curtain. US and Iraqi forces pressed on with their house-to-house search for Al-Qaeda fighters near the border with Syria as they probed a car bomb attack in a restive Baghdad neighborhood that killed four US soldiers. AFP Photo/Ho/USMC/Cpl Neill A. Sevelius.

Baghdad (AFP) Nov 08, 2005
At least 180 suspected terrorists were arrested Tuesday during a sweep against insurgents in the far western Iraqi town of Husayba, near the border with Syria, the US military said.

Some 1,000 Iraqi and 2,500 US troops launched a sweep called Operation Steel Curtain early Saturday focusing on the Euphrates valley town in the restive Sunni Arab province of Al-Anbar.

At least one US marine and 36 suspected insurgents were reported killed in the fighting.

US and Iraqi forces "continue to detain insurgents as they fight their way through the city," the military said, though the resistance was described as "weakening."

Unlike past days, no air strikes were conducted Tuesday.

An undetermined number of the detained suspects were foreigners "who originated from various countries within Asia and Africa," the military said.

On the town's outskirts, marines discovered the corpse of a man who had been bound, gagged and shot through the head.

Marine Captain Jeffrey Pool described the discovery as "strong evidence of the murder and intimidation campaign" waged by the Al-Qaeda fighters against people that fail to support them.

Most residents are believed to have fled the town before the operation, but Iraqi troops and US marines are housing and feeding at least 800 local civilians, the military said Monday.

Steel Curtain's goal is to restore Iraqi control along the border with Syria "and destroy the Al-Qaeda in Iraq terrorists operating throughout Al-Qaim region," the military said.

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