Thursday, January 18, 2007

Australian Soldiers Battle Insurgents In Baghdad Streets

We don't hear much about exactly what Australian troops are actually doing in Iraq, but every now and then the Defence Department throws out a few bones

There's about 120 Australians doing security detail in Baghdad for Australian diplomats, primarily. Here's a report about a blitzing encounter between Australian troops and insurgents.

Reports don't yet reveal whether or not the Australians were targeted specifically by the insurgents, or whether they were just the closest Coalition of the Willing patrol to insurgents ready to launch an attack :
The patrol was attacked on Tuesday evening, with Iraqi gunfire causing superficial damage to the vehicles.

The soldiers returned fire with more than 400 rounds. No Australian soldiers were hurt.

The patrol, which included three Australian light armoured vehicles and personnel from the Australian Security Detachment, was attacked by at least three armed gunmen.

Some more details here :

The three ASLAVs and an unidentified number of soldiers from the Australian Security Detachment (SECDET), which is charged with protecting Australian embassy staff in Baghdad, were on patrol at about 5.40pm local time when the insurgents struck.

Around three insurgents fired on the vehicles as they approached a road overpass.

"A number of rounds hit the ASLAVs, however, there were no injuries to Australian personnel," defence officials said.

"Australian personnel returned fire with machine guns and Steyr rifles as they moved through the incident location.

"There were multiple strikes against the Australian vehicles but the exact number was yet to be confirmed."

Last week, Australian soldiers opened fire with mounted machine guns on an Iraqi truck that approached a checkpoint some 200 metres away out from the Australian embassy.

The driver allegedly refused to stop and he was killed after three bursts of gunfire, five to ten rounds fired in each burst. The incident is being investigated.