updated 3/6/2008 1:06:33 PM ET 2008-03-06T18:06:33

U.S. and Iraqi forces killed 11 suspected insurgents and detained 44 others in raids targeting al-Qaida in central and northern Iraq, the U.S. military said Thursday. Three Iraqi troops were killed in one of the operations.

The Tal Afar Special Weapons and Tactics team, made up of U.S. and Iraqi forces, on Sunday targeted a cell responsible for assassinations and bombing attacks in the Tal Afar area in Iraq's Ninevah province, the military said in a statement.

During the raid, several fighters opened fire on the Iraqi and U.S. troops, killing the three Iraqi soldiers and wounding three others, the statement said.

The U.S.-Iraqi team killed nine suspected insurgents, according to the statement. Three Iraqi civilians were wounded and treated at the scene and eight suspected cell members were detained for questioning, including two who were wounded and evacuated to a military hospital for treatment, the military said.

During the operation, the team found bomb-making materials, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, rifles, grenades, a landmine and ammunition, according to the statement.

The Americans and their Iraqi allies are pushing to take control of the Ninevah region, where insurgent fighters are making a stand after their influence diminished in Baghdad and other areas last year. Tal Afar is about 260 miles northwest of Baghdad.

In another operation, U.S. soldiers shot to death a man who drew a pistol on them and then tried to detonate a bomb-laden suicide vest. Three suspected al-Qaida members were also detained during the operation near the central city of Samarra, 60 miles north of Baghdad.

Another al-Qaida suspect who was also killed near Samarra was allegedly involved in racketeering and embezzlement to fund the extremist organization.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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