Violence continues despite security plan

May 31, 2005 at 7:12 AM

BAGHDAD, May 31 (UPI) -- Violence took at least three lives in Iraq Tuesday, the third day of an all-out security operation aimed at curbing terrorism in Baghdad, security sources said.

In the town of Kenaan, near Baquba, 37 miles north of Baghdad, two Iraqi soldiers were killed and nine others were injured when a booby-trapped car exploded near their military convoy.

In the meantime, the Italian command said four Italian soldiers were killed when their military helicopter crashed near Nassiriya in southern Iraq. There was no information about the circumstances of the crash.

Italy maintains 3,000 troops in Iraq, the fourth biggest foreign force after the United States, Britain and South Korea.

Another helicopter, belonging to Iraqi armed forces, also crashed Tuesday near the Iraqi-Iranian border, killing four U.S. soldiers and an Iraqi on board.

It was not immediately known if the helicopter was shot down or crashed due to technical reasons.

In another incident, gunmen assassinated Sheik Ahmed Faraj, the imam of Haroun Rashid Mosque in the Sunni city of Ramadi, according to the Committee of Muslim Ulemas, the highest Sunni religious authority in Iraq.

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