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Afghan attack hurts 3 U.S. soldiers

Three U.S. soldiers were wounded, one of them critically, when Afghan insurgents attacked their vehicle with rockets and guns, the American military said Monday.

The military also announced the capture of more than five Taliban leaders, and confirmed the death of a rebel commander who had been released from the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The American soldiers were hurt when militants attacked the vehicle Saturday morning near Qalat, the capital of the troubled southeastern province of Zabul, a military statement said.

It said the three wounded soldiers were evacuated to a military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany for treatment. One soldier was in critical condition and the other two were in stable condition.

Zabul is a focus of operations for the 18,000-strong American-led force battling Taliban insurgents and other antigovernment militias across the south and east of Afghanistan.

More than 900 people have died in violence across the country so far this year.

The military also confirmed the killing of Abdul Ghaffar, a rebel commander in the Taliban stronghold of central Uruzgan province.

The U.S. military also said U.S.-led forces had rounded up more than 10 "Taliban facilitators" in the southeast, disrupting the guerrillas ability to plan and conduct raids.

Terror fight elsewhere . . .

AL-QAIDA LEADER IN LEBANON DIES IN PRISON: The alleged top al-Qaida operative in Lebanon who was captured in a security operation that broke up a terrorist network died of a heart attack Monday, hospital and security officials said. Ismail Mohammed al-Khatib, who was in his early 50s, was hospitalized in the morning after suffering a cardiac arrest, but died from a second attack in the afternoon, said officials at Bahanes Hospital, 18 miles outside Beirut. Al-Khatib was one of two top operatives of al-Qaida's organization captured by Lebanese authorities Sept. 17 with 10 other suspects.