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Italian soldiers killed in Afghanistan had been defusing IEDs

By the CNN Wire Staff
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The two Italian soldiers killed in Afghanistan had been defusing IEDs
  • Both were experts in bomb disposal and had years of combat experience

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- The two Italian soldiers who died this week in Afghanistan were defusing an explosive device near the western city of Herat when they were killed, the Italian Defense Ministry said.

The soldiers, who were 41 and 33, were experts in defusing such devices and had been part of an IEDD (Improvised Explosive Device Disposal) team, the ministry said. Both had years of experience in combat zones.

The two soldiers, who were not named, went to the IED site after a tip-off from Afghan police. They succeeded in neutralizing one device, but as they went to check the area for others, an explosion went off and both were killed, the ministry said.

They had gone to the site in an armored vehicle with other Italian soldiers, one of whom was wounded in the explosion.

CNN's Hada Messia in Rome, Italy, contributed to this report.