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Afghanistan air base attack kills 2 Ariz. Marines

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PHOENIX (AP) – Two Marines assigned to the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, Ariz., were killed during an insurgent attack on an air base in Afghanistan, the Defense Department announced.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the strike, saying it was staged to avenge an anti-Islamic film that insulted the Prophet Muhammad and also because Britain’s Prince Harry is serving at the base, the military disclosed Sunday.

Fourteen of the 15, well-armed attackers were killed and one was captured after they penetrated the perimeter of Camp Bastion and made it onto the flight line on Friday, the military said.

The attackers destroyed six Harrier jump jets assigned to Yuma’s Marine Attack Squadron 211 and heavily damaged two others. The British air base is next to the Marines’ Camp Leatherneck in southern Afghanistan’s Helmand province.

The dead Marines were identified as Col. Christopher K. Raible, 40, of Huntingdon, Pa., and Sgt. Bradley W. Atwell, 27, of Kokomo, Ind. Eight coalition military members and a civilian contractor were wounded in the attack. None of those injuries was considered life-threatening.

A statement issued by the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force in Kabul said the insurgents were wearing U.S. Army uniforms and armed with automatic rifles, rocket propelled grenade launchers and suicide vests.

The ISAF statement said the insurgents were in three teams and appeared to be well-equipped, trained and rehearsed. They attacked helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft on the flight line along with aircraft hangars and other buildings.

The insurgents also destroyed three refueling stations and damaged six hangars.

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