BAGHDAD (AFP) — US forces raided a "suicide bombing network" in Iraq's restive Diyala province on Sunday, killing 12 men, six of whom who had shaved their bodies in preparation for becoming human bombs, the American military said.
Major Winfield Danielson, a US military spokesman, told AFP, without elaborating, that the raid was launched east of the Diyala capital Baquba.
When ground forces closed in on the "target building", they came under small arms fire, Danielson said.
"Coalition forces, responding to the hostile threat, engaged five armed men and killed them.
"The ground force called for the remaining occupants to come out of the building but while some complied, others remained inside. Coalition forces entered the building and were fired upon by several armed men.
"Seven more terrorists were killed in the engagement, and coalition forces detained five suspects on the scene," he said in an emailed statement.
Assault weapons, ammunition and grenades were discovered on site and destroyed.
"Six of the terrorists killed had shaved their bodies, which is consistent with final preparation for suicide operations," Danielson said.
US commanders say the explosive vest has become the weapon of choice for Al-Qaeda in Iraq, with most jihadists nowadays wearing it and the the number of suicide attacks rising.