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15 militants, 3 civilians killed

At least 15 militants and three civilians have been killed in an operation by the US-led coalition forces in the southern Afghan province of Helmand, says a military statement.

world Updated: Nov 12, 2007 15:11 IST
Xinhua

At least 15 militants and three civilians have been killed in an operation by the US-led coalition forces in the southern Afghan province of Helmand, a military statement said on Monday.

According to the statement, hostilities started when militants taking cover of a nearby building opened intense fire on the coalition forces carrying out a mop-up operation against Taliban facilitators in Garmer district.

During a search operation after the rebels were silenced, the forces recovered 15 bodies of the militants. They also recovered bodies of a woman and two children in the bombed building, the statement said.

"We would like to express our heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of the deceased," said Maj Chris Belcher, a spokesman.

"When militants knowingly engage coalition forces with innocent people in the background, it only shows the extremists' complete disregard for innocent lives," he added.

Continuing their search of the compounds, the forces detained two suspected Taliban facilitators, said the statement.

They also recovered several weapons and ammunition from the possession of the killed militants, which were destroyed on-site to prevent further use by extremist forces, it added.