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The details were barely reported at the time by the world’s media: the killing on Dec. 21 in the west of Iraq’s Sunni-dominated Anbar province of 24 Iraqi Army personnel, including the commander of the 7th Division.

According to one account, the men were killed by a massive roadside bomb while chasing al-Qaida fighters. A second version said the soldiers were in the town of Rutba when three men detonated suicide belts among them.

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