Kandahar (Afghanistan), Sept.4 : Three soldiers were killed and five others injured five, when Canadian troops came under direct fire from insurgents here on Wednesday.
Military officials are still investigating how Corporal Andrew Grenon, 23, Cpl. Mike Seggie, 21, and Private Chad Horn, 21, were killed Wednesday as they patrolled the western part of Kandahar city.
It has, however, been concluded that the soldiers who were weeks or just days from heading home, weren't victims of the kind of planted bomb that has inflicted the heaviest toll on Canada's troops.
Instead, the Taliban appear to have mounted a "direct-fire attack," which could include shots from Kalashnikov rifles, grenade launchers, or even powerful 82 mm recoilless rifles, capable of punching through armoured vehicles.
The last major incident happened exactly two years ago, on September 3, 2006, in a battle that killed four soldiers at the beginning of Operation Medusa, the largest offensive by Canadian troops in half a century.
That battle took place only a few kilometers from the latest deaths in Zhari district, a measure of how the Canadians have struggled to hold territory.
Canada's Chief of the Defence Staff, General Walter Natynczyk, described the latest casualties as particularly troubling.
Gen. Natynczyk, who was attending the Conference of the Defence Ministers of the Americas in Banff, Alta., said the security situation during this "fighting season" in Afghanistan is especially "tough."
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has offered his condolences to the soldiers' families.