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Iraqis, Americans Battle Near Samarra

July 21 (NCA) -- American soldiers battled militants in late night fighting near Samarra in northern Iraq.

The U.S. military said U.S. soldiers returned fire at insurgents and destroyed the house they were in. A U.S. warplane destroyed another house with a 225-kilogram bomb.

Hospital officials said four Iraqis were killed and five more wounded.

Also yesterday, the U.S. military said four soldiers were killed in action in Anbar Province, a Sunni-dominated area west of Baghdad. Nearly 900 U.S. service members have now been killed in Iraq.

In other news, Philippine hostage Angelo de la Cruz was released yesterday by his captors in Iraq. His release came a day after the 51 Philippine troops who had been in Iraq, completed their pullout. The kidnappers had threatened to behead their hostage unless they were withdrawn by 20 July.