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U.S. and Iraqi forces wrapped up Operation Spear late Wednesday, killing 47 suspected insurgents and dismantling more than a dozen car bombs, military officials said.

The operation, which lasted five days, was aimed at insurgent cells in and around the city of Karabilah, near the Syrian border.

The region has been a main by-way for money, weapons and fighters smuggled in from Syria, U.S. officials have said.

During Spear, joint forces found three car bomb factories and 17 explosives-rigged vehicles, including a tractor-trailer, dump truck and passenger van.

U.S. officials also said Thursday they had discovered a “torture house” with four hostages bound and gagged inside. No information was given on the hostages’ nationalities.

“The building where the hostages were held contained an improvised explosive device factory in the basement,” a U.S. military statement read.

“This building was part of a compound containing a school with bomb-making instructions on the classroom’s blackboard.”


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