Insurgents Kill 17 Iraqis Working for U.S. Military
Cronaca WSJ 6 e 8/12
· Si sono intensificati gli attacchi della guerriglia sunnita, concentrati soprattutto sulle forze di polizia irakena, sia a fini terroristici che per rifornirsi di armi.
· In tre giorni uccisi almeno 70 irakeni e tre americani.
Attacchi avvenuti a Tikrit, Mosul (qui incursione USA in una moschea, da dove avevano sparato uccidendo due marines ha provocato una manifestazione di uomini mascherati), Ramadi, Baghdad, Falluja e soprattutto a Samarra, dove vi sono stati diversi attacchi ed è stata saccheggiata l’armeria della caserma di polizia; il generale capo della polizia locale ha dato le dimissioni (Samarra era stata “riconquistata” dagli USA due-tre mesi fa).
· La Mezzaluna Rossa (=Croce Rossa) irakena lascia Falluja per mancanza di sicurezza
· Min Interni ha proposto di scaglionare le elezioni nelle diverse province su due-tre settimane, per poter meglio garantire l’ordine (concentrando le forze). Il premier Allawi ha appoggiato la proposta; critica la Commissione elettorale.
· Abdullah II di Giordania e Allawi accusano Siria e Iran di interferire, lasciando passare guerriglieri e (l’Iran) incoraggiando un milione di persone ad andare in Irak per votare a fine gennaio. Servizi Usa affermano che la resistenza irachena è diretta dalla Siria.
Iraqi Red Crescent Withdraws From Fallujah
December 6, 2004 3:32 a.m.
BAGHDAD, Iraq – Gunmen ambushed a bus carrying unarmed Iraqis to work at a U.S. ammo dump near Tikrit Sunday, killing 17 and raising the death toll from three days of intensified insurgent attacks to at least 70 Iraqis and eight U.S. soldiers.
The violence came just weeks after the U.S. launched major offensives aimed at suppressing insurgents ahead of crucial elections set for Jan. 30. On Sunday, several small Sunni Muslim groups joined more influential Sunni clerics in demanding that the vote be postponed by six months.
The attacks, focused in Baghdad and several cities to the north, appeared to be aimed at scaring off those who cooperate with the American military, whether police, national guardsmen, Kurdish militias, or people just looking for a paycheck.
Sunday’s bloodshed began when gunmen opened fire at a bus as it dropped off Iraqis employed by coalition forces at a weapons dump in Tikrit, 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Baghdad, said Capt. Bill Coppernoll, spokesman for the Tikrit-based U.S. First Infantry Division. Capt. Coppernoll said 17 people died and 13 were wounded in the attack.
Survivors said about seven insurgents were involved, firing all their ammunitions clips into the bus before fleeing. The bodies of the victims were brought to a morgue too small to hold them all; some were left in the street.
About an hour later, a suicide car bomber drove into an Iraqi National Guard checkpoint in Beiji, about 75 miles to the north, detonating his explosives-packed vehicle, Capt. Coppernoll said, adding that gunmen then opened fire on the position, killing three guardsmen, including a company commander, and wounding 18.
Also Sunday, guerrillas ambushed a joint Iraqi-coalition patrol in Latifiyah, south of Baghdad, and attacked Iraqi National Guardsmen patrolling near Samarra, north of Baghdad. Two Iraqis were killed and 10 wounded.
On Friday, a police station was hit and 16 men were killed. On Saturday, suicide car bombs hit another police station, killing six, and a bus carrying Kurdish militiamen, killing seven.
The raids also appear to be designed to resupply the insurgents’ arsenal. Rebels behind Friday’s attack looted the police armory, and on Sunday, police said armed men stormed a station about 30 miles south of Fallujah and stole two police cars and a large cache of weapons.
That has not stopped the coalition from arming Iraqi forces. On Sunday, the U.S.-led Multinational Security Transition Command announced Iraqi security forces had received deliveries in November of 5,400 AK-47 rifles, almost 2,000 9mm Glock pistols, 78 rocket-propelled grenade launchers and millions of rounds of ammunition, as well as body armor, night vision goggles, armored personnel carriers and four Russian-designed battle tanks.
Eight U.S. troops have been killed since Friday as well.
The First Marine Expeditionary Force on Monday said two Marines were killed Friday during operations in Anbar province, a vast region that includes the battleground cities of Fallujah and Ramadi. No further details were provided.
And two soldiers were slain Saturday during a patrol in Mosul’s Palestine neighborhood, when they came under fire from insurgents shooting from two mosques and other buildings in the area, according to spokeswoman Capt. Angela Bowman. The U.S. military and Iraqi forces later raided a mosque and detained three suspects.
The raid drew several masked men onto the street in protest. “I swear by God, I swear by God, I swear by God, our retaliation will be severe, God witness what I say!” a masked man shouted before speeding away in a car.
The military also said on Monday that U.S. soldiers have detained 14 Iraqis suspected of making car bombs and leading insurgent cells in northern Iraq.
Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s group, al Qaeda in Iraq, claimed responsibility for several attacks Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, another militant group, Jaish Mohammed, Arabic for the Mohammed Army, issued a statement saying its fighters were lying low for “a few days” but planned more attacks against U.S. forces.
The group’s statement, which could not be immediately verified, also warned Iraqis against aiding coalition forces and said they would be attacked with similar fury as that directed against the U.S. military.
The latest attacks on Iraqis cooperating with the interim government have been particularly brutal in their scale and have taken on a new urgency in light of the approaching vote.
The U.S.-led coalition had hoped its invasion of the insurgent hotbed of Fallujah last month would cripple the insurgency. Instead, the rebels appear to have scattered, and, after a brief lull, resumed their campaign.
The Iraqi Red Crescent Society withdrew from Fallujah on Sunday amid concerns over continuing insecurity, the organization’s chief said. The Red Crescent, sister organization to the international Red Cross, set up operations there two weeks ago to assist Iraqi civilians who stayed behind during the fighting.
The Americans had also wanted Iraq’s army and police force to play a larger role in calming the country before the elections. Instead, the homegrown troops have only shown how vulnerable they are to devastating and extremely demoralizing attacks.
Acknowledging that problem, the Pentagon decided Wednesday to raise troop levels from 138,000 to 150,000, more than were initially deployed for the war to oust Saddam Hussein last year, to help bring security for the vote.
While Iraq’s majority Shiites are eagerly awaiting the election, the Sunnis oppose it, partly because the violence has been heavy in their areas west and north of Baghdad and voter registration there has not begun. About 40 small, mostly Sunni political parties met Sunday to demand the elections be postponed by six months, but stopped short of calling for a boycott.
President Bush, Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi and Iraq’s Sunni president, Ghazi al-Yawer, have insisted the vote will be held as scheduled.
Copyright (c) 2004 The Associated Press
<90436445">Militants Launch String Of Attacks in Samarra
December 8, 2004 2:46 p.m.
BAGHDAD, Iraq — Insurgents launched
a string of assaults around the city of Samarra on Wednesday, trading gunfire with U.S. forces, attacking a U.S. convoy, and blowing up a police station after looting its armory, officials said. The violence came as Britain’s defense minister visited British troops in Basra, to the south.
Meanwhile Wednesday, the Interior Ministry supported a reported proposal from interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi to spread national elections, scheduled for Jan. 30, over several weeks in different regions to give people a better chance of voting in safety. Iraq’s Interim Electoral Commission, which would make the final call, said it hadn’t been told of the proposal and had no plans to change the voting.
Interior Ministry spokesman Sabah Khazim said the ministry supported Mr. Allawi’s call for a vote over a period as long as three weeks. “It is an excellent idea and it will make it more easier for the Interior Ministry regarding securing the elections,” he said.
“Everyone — Shiites, Sunnis, Christians, Kurds, Turkomen — should be able to take part in the vote,” Belgium’s Le Soir newspaper quoted Mr. Allawi as saying on Tuesday. “That is why I think we can see elections spread over 15 days, or 20, with polls spread over different dates according to the provinces. It would allow for the imposition of adequate security.”
Farid Ayar, the spokesman of the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq, said his office hadn’t been told of Mr. Allawi’s idea, adding that it wouldn’t be his decision.
“We are the ones who set the voting mechanism. We have no information about this suggestion,” Mr. Ayar said. “We have good relations with Dr. Allawi and we think if he had such an idea he would have proposed it to us before the media.”
Four Iraqis Killed
The violence in Samarra, 60 miles north of Baghdad, killed four Iraqis and wounded several others. It demonstrated that the insurgents still remain a force in the city despite a large-scale operation launched by American forces there several months ago.
Gunmen stormed a police station, looted the weapons inside and blew up the building, according to a Samarra police officer. A policeman and a child standing nearby were killed during the clashes before the insurgents fled.
Samarra’s chief of police announced his resignation just hours after insurgents launched the wave of attacks in the central Iraqi city, including one on his own house.
Major General Talib Shamel al-Samarrai said he would submit his official resignation Thursday, marking the end of his second term as the city’s top law enforcement officer.
Despite hailing the operation to retake control of Samarra as a success, the U.S. military and Iraqi security forces have continued to be targeted by insurgents operating in the city. Since the operation began, 127 fighters and 20 civilians have been killed. Residents say many local police are refusing to go to work, fearing insurgents will target them for supporting U.S.-led efforts to maintain security in the city.
British Defense Minister Visits Iraq
Meanwhile, British Defense Minister Geoff Hoon was to meet with soldiers at several bases around Basra, Iraq’s second-largest city, and with some of Britain’s 9,000 troops who recently returned from a mission in central Iraq in support of U.S.-led efforts to clear insurgents from a wide swathe of territory south of Baghdad, spokesman Maj. David Gibb said.
Mr. Hoon discussed preparations for next month’s elections in talks with Basra’s governor, Hassan al-Rashid, during his one-day visit. He said his government wasn’t planning to send more soldiers to Iraq ahead of the polls.
Basra, about 340 miles southeast of Baghdad, lies close to Iraq’s long and porous border with Iran. Iraq’s U.S.-installed authorities have repeatedly called on their neighbors — particularly Syria and Iran — to guard their borders more closely to prevent foreign fighters from joining the insurgency.
Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Iraq’s interim president, both Sunni Muslims, singled out Shiite Muslim-dominated Iran, accusing it of trying to influence the elections, in which Iraq’s majority Shiites are expected to perform strongly. King Abdullah told the Washington Post in an interview published Wednesday that more than one million Iranians have entered Iraq, many to vote, and said they were being encouraged by the Iranian government. The Post also reported U.S. military intelligence officials belive that the Iraqi insurgency is being directed to a greater degree than previously recognized from Syria.
Iran has said it has no interest in fomenting instability in Iraq and it tries to block any infiltration into Iraq by insurgents — while noting that the borders are hard to police.
Elsewhere in Iraq:
• Clashes between police and gunmen in the northern city of Mosul left four militants dead and two commandos wounded, Lt. Col. Jaleel al-Dulaimi said. Insurgents attacked the commando checkpoint on a highway with sniper fire and rocket-propelled grenades, Col. Dulaimi said, adding that there were unconfirmed reports of civilian casualties.
• Police found the beheaded corpse of an Iraqi National Guardsman in the Hillah River, some 60 miles south of Baghdad, hospital official Hussein Madlol said Wednesday. It wasn’t clear when he was killed.
• A suicide bomber detonated his explosives-packed car close to two U.S. Bradley fighting vehicles parked outside an American base in Samarra, injuring one Iraqi civilian, while insurgents attacked American forces at another location with machine-gun fire and rocket-propelled grenades. No U.S. casualties were sustained.
• Clashes also broke out between American troops and insurgents around a U.S. base in the troubled city of Ramadi. A hospital official said three Iraqi civilians were killed and one was wounded.
• In Baghdad, a roadside bomb wounded two American soldiers, who later returned to duty, U.S. military spokesman Maj. Jay Antonelli said. Iraqi hospital officials also said six Iraqis were wounded.