U.S. airstrikes in Iraq kill 17 fighters

Just a bit of good news in a dreary world…

From the AP:

American attack helicopters fired on al-Qaida militants trying to slip past an Iraqi checkpoint on Friday, killing 17 of them in the fourth day of an offensive to oust the fighters entrenched in this city an hour’s drive north of Baghdad.

More than three-quarters of the city’s al-Qaida leadership fled before the Americans moved in to Baqouba this week, U.S. officials said Friday, but not before drone planes spotted fighters planting dozens of roadside bombs on the main highway into the city, capital of volatile and extremely dangerous Diyala province.

Brig. Gen. Mick Bednarek, assistant commander for operations with the 25th Infantry Division, estimated that several hundred low-level al-Qaida fighters remain.

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