AP and Fox News are reporting that three soldiers (possibly two soldiers and an interpreter) are missing after an ambush this morning Iraq time in an area 20 miles South of Baghdad.
BAGHDAD (AP) – U.S. and Iraqi troops searched house-to-house and combed fields with their bare hands Saturday after American troops and their Iraqi interpreter came under attack in the notorious “triangle of death” south of Baghdad, leaving five dead and three missing. The military said the patrol was struck in a pre-dawn explosion near Mahmoudiya, about 20 miles south of Baghdadâ€”an al-Qaida area where two U.S. soldiers were found massacred after disappearing at a checkpoint nearly a year ago.
A nearby unit heard the blast and the search was launched after communication could not be established with the patrol, the military said. Shortly after the blast, a drone observed two burning vehicles. An emergency response unit arrived at the scene and found five members of the team dead and three others missing.
Checkpoints were established throughout the area, while helicopters and jets buzzed overhead. AP Television News footage showed Iraqi soldiers picking through cattails and other weeds as they searched fields and canals for clues.
Associated “with terrorists” Press then goes on to gratuitously add this to the story:
Five U.S. soldiers also have been charged in the rape of a 14-year-old Mahmoudiya girl and the killing of her and her entire family, and three have pleaded guilty in the March 12, 2006, attack, which was initially blamed on insurgents.
This is the agitprop justification story for the ambush and mutilation of kidnapped American troops in 2006, and really has less linkage to the current story than Sadaam had with Al Qaeda.