An Iraqi special forces patrol moves on foot past ruined homes on the outskirts of Ramadi, a city west of Baghdad where al-Qaida-inspired militants have held off the military for three months. As they head down an alleyway, shots from snipers ring out, followed by grenade blasts.

The troops take shelter behind walls and Humvees and return fire. No one is wounded and the operation continues.

A short while later the unit is clearing a house. They blow open the outer gate with a charge and a bomb expert goes inside. He pronounces the building safe to enter and calls on the rest of the soldiers to search it. Moments later a huge explosion collapses the building, shakes the ground and sends dust billowing in the air. […]