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Troops with the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division have become the first American unit to fire in combat a new artillery round with extended range accuracy, military officials said Friday.

The XM982 Excalibur, a 155 mm precision-guided, extended-range round, was fired at a suspected insurgent safe house in the northern region of Baghdad earlier this month.

The round was fired by troops with the 1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, after soldiers from the the 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment secured the site and posted an overwatch of the building, officials said. The house was about two miles from Camp Taji.

The owner of the targeted house had been previously detained on charges of murdering several Iraqis, and was allegedly captured on video dumping bodies into the Tigris River. Destroying the safe house is part of a larger effort to keep insurgents from having stable places to plan or meet after attacks, officials said.

“This could be a tool we use in the future to precisely eliminate enemy equipment, safe houses, weapons caches, or whatever the case may be,” Lt. Col. Kevin Macwatters, commander of the 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, was quoted as saying.

The artillery troops trained with the new round — which hits a target almost directly vertically — before their current deployment.

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