U.S. forces along the Euphrates River attacked the insurgent stronghold of Haditha early Tuesday, capturing a militant with ties to al-Qaida in Iraq and killing four others, the military said.
The assault on Haditha followed a recent offensive to retake Tal Afar, another northern town, which U.S. commanders said netted more than 400 suspected militants. The Iraqi military said its troops had detained 36 others, including a Yemeni citizen, just south of Tal Afar, Reuters reports.
In southern Iraq, a roadside bomb exploded near a convoy of Iraqi security guards and foreign contract workers outside Basra, killing four people, police said. While one Iraqi official said the four dead were Americans, U.S. officials were unable to confirm the report.
Insurgents in Baghdad shelled the heavily fortified Green Zone, with two mortar rounds exploding near a military hospital inside the protected area that houses the Iraqi government, parliament and foreign missions, but there were no reports of casualties. Security inside the Green Zone was boosted earlier this month after reports that suicide bombers were trying to penetrate the area.
Associated Press Television News video of the aftermath of the Haditha attack showed at least three demolished homes. There were no American casualties, the military said.
"Coalition Forces engaged the terrorists and called in close air support. Coalition aircraft destroyed one of the vehicles being used by one of the terrorists," the statement said.
Haditha, 140 miles northwest of Baghdad, is one of a series of towns in the Euphrates River valley controlled by militants.
On Monday, officials said the insurgent death toll in three days of fighting in Tal Afar totaled 200. Seven Iraqi soldiers and six civilians also died; the U.S. military said no American soldiers were hurt.
The Ilyushin 20 (Il-20) military electronic reconnaissance aircraft of the Russian Air Force with 14 servicemen on board that went off radar screens off the coast of Syria was shot down by Syrian air defense systems over the Mediterranean Sea