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Andrzej Zielke


Polish Army

Private 1st Class, 16 Zulawski Engineer Bat., 16 Pomorska Mechanized Div.

6/8/2004, As Suwayrah , Iraq

Two Poles, Cpl. Tomasz Krygiel from the 12th Mechanized Brigade in Szczecin and Pfc. Andrzej Zielke of the 16th Repair Battalion in Elbląg, as well as three Slovaks and a Latvian, were killed June 8 when an explosion occurred during a mine disposal operation in an ammunition and explosive warehouse in Suwaira, south of Baghdad, in Wasit province, one of the three overseen by the multinational division commanded by the Poles. A third Polish soldier suffered serious injuries. He was first ferried to a hospital in Baghdad and later-via the U.S. base Rammstein-to a clinic in Germany specialized in treating burns; he returned to Poland June 11.

Gen. Piotr Czerwiński, head of a military commission investigating the accident on the scene, said that a probable cause behind the explosion was mortar fire from a distance of 2-3 km, from outside the area in which the soldiers operated. As a result of examinations, three craters were found in the ground left behind by exploding mortar shells. They show that the shells were aimed at the stored missiles which the soldiers were to dispose of.


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