updated 3/17/2009 10:27:08 AM ET 2009-03-17T14:27:08

Officials say U.S.-led coalition troops have killed seven militants in a raid on a bomb-making cell in southern Afghanistan.

The coalition says troops were targeting militants in a compound in Kandahar province, where insurgents earlier killed an Australian soldier. Australia's Air Chief Marshal says the soldier was shot during a "very intense firefight" with 20 Taliban insurgents.

The militants killed in the raid were suspected of involvement in attacks on coalition and Afghan forces. Three people have been detained.

Police killed
In another part of Kandahar province, Afghan officials say Taliban militants killed five police officers when they ambushed a patrol.

The spike in violence suggests attacks are likely to surge as the U.S. prepares to send some 17,000 more forces into the country.

More on: Afghanistan | Taliban

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