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Coalition forces on Monday killed three men later identified as Iraqi police officers during a gunbattle, officials said.

The forces were targeting an al-Qaida in Iraq network northeast of Ramadi, according to a release issued by Multi-National Corps-Iraq.

During the operation, they were shot at by men in two buildings and returned fire, officials said. They killed three men and wounded one.

The forces had coordinated their operation beforehand and no Iraqi police were known to be in the area, officials said.

“Coalition Forces express their deepest sympathies to the families of the Iraqi Police who were killed,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, MNFI spokesman.

The incident is under investigation.

Coalition forces later cleared a building and detained seven people suspected of having ties to al-Qaida in Iraq.

U.S. troops killed an Iraqi soldier in a similar incident near Mosul last month.

The troops, targeting an al-Qaida in Iraq network, and a helicopter in the air were struck by small-arms fire from two buildings, according to Multi-National Force-Iraq. Returning fire, the troops killed a man and wounded three others later identified as Iraqi army soldiers, according to a news release.

There was no immediate explanation of how the incident might have occurred.

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