US-led forces killed 15 terror suspects and detained three others after a fierce gunfight broke out during simultaneous raids targeting a senior al-Qaida member Tuesday northeast of Baghdad, the US military said.
The military said the troops were responding after they came under small arms fire from a roof upon arriving at the target of a raid north of Baqouba, 60 kilometers northeast of Baghdad - the same area where al-Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed June 7 in an airstrike.
"The ground force returned fire, killing nine armed terrorists on the rooftop," the military said in a statement. It said five others were killed by coalition aircraft after they were spotted firing on the forces and one terrorist was killed by a coalition sniper as he engaged the troops from a nearby roof.
One coalition aircraft providing cover hit utility wires during the fighting. The aircraft was damaged and forced to make a controlled landing, but nobody was injured and the ground force immediately secured the site, according to the statement.