U.S. Troops Kill Four in Firefight in Eastern Afghanistan

Kabul, Afghanistan-AP -- A firefight in Afghanistan has left four attackers dead -- but the Americans who were involved are all said to be O.K.

Officials say Afghan rebels opened fire on a U.S. patrol, causing the Americans to return fire.

A U.S. military spokesman says the attackers were armed with assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers. The pre-dawn attack came as U.S. and allied forces were patrolling for guerrilla fighters in a volatile area near the Pakistan border.

U.S. soldiers reportedly fired four artillery shells and several illumination rounds during the three-hour exchange.

The spokesman says the three attackers died during the battle. A fourth was killed later, as he tried to toss a hand-grenade at coalition forces.

Small groups of Taliban and al-Qaida fighters have been stepping up their cross-border attacks since the start of spring.

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