The Command Post
Iraq
May 31, 2005
Anbar Governor Found Dead
The kidnapped governor of volatile Anbar province was found dead after a fierce battle between U.S. forces and foreign fighters, a government spokesman said Tuesday.

[…]

The body of the governor of Anbar province, Raja Nawaf Farhan al-Mahalawi, was found Sunday in Rawah, about 175 miles northwest of Baghdad, said government spokesman Laith Kuba.

Al-Mahalawi, who was abducted May 10 near Qaim, a town near the Syrian border, was killed by rubble that fell when the house where he was held became the focus of the gunbattle between U.S. forces and foreign fighters, Kuba said.

The confirmation of al-Mahalawi’s death ended a lingering mystery surrounding his whereabouts. Relatives and a government official said May 15 that al-Mahalawi’s kidnappers released him, but U.S. military officials maintained he had not been seen until his body was discovered Sunday.

Kuba said al-Mahalawi had never been released, but instead had been handed from one terrorist cell to another.

Maj. Wes Hayes, a military spokesman, said Sunday’s battle began after foreign fighters fired rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons at coalition forces from a house. Coalition troops returned fire, killing four foreign fighters and wounding three others, and then found the body of al-Mahalawi, which had been chained to a propane tank and had suffered a blow to the head, he said.

Al-Mahalawi’s body was taken Monday to Qaim, where his family identified him.

The kidnappers had previously told his family they were holding him until American forces left Qaim, the scene of Operation Matador, a weeklong U.S. offensive targeting insurgents 200 miles west of Baghdad.

Read more…

Saddam Trial to Start in Two Months
President Jalal Talabani said Tuesday in an interview with CNN that authorities expect to put deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein on trial in the next two months.

Talabani said that “the court of Iraq will decide the future of Saddam Hussein” but that there was a strong public desire for him to be executed if convicted.

CNN said Talabani had said the proceedings would start in the next two months.

Read more…

Air Crashes Kill 8 in Iraq
Four Italian troops died in a helicopter crash overnight, officials said Tuesday…

[…]

The cause of the crash of the Italian AB-412 helicopter was not known, but spokesman Lt. Col. Fabio Mattiassi told the ANSA news agency it was likely an accident.

t went down about eight miles southeast of Nasiriyah, killing its two pilots and two passengers, all attached to the army, Mattiassi said. Most of Italy's 3,000 troops are based in Nasiriyah, and 25 have been killed.

A day earlier, an Iraqi single-engine plane crashed near Jalula, about 80 miles northeast of Baghdad, killing the four Americans and the Iraqi pilot, said U.S. military spokesman Lt. Col. Fred Wellman. The aircraft, one of seven used by the Iraqi air force for surveillance and personnel transport, was heading to Jalula from a Kirkuk air base, the military said.

Read more…

May 30, 2005
Iraq Report: May 30/05

Welcome, and a fine Memorial Day weekend to you! Our goal at Winds of Change.NET is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from Iraq that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. This briefing is brought to you by Joel Gaines of No Pundit Intended and Andrew Olmsted of Andrew Olmsted dot com.

TOP TOPICS

  • Operation Lightning, 40,000 Iraqi troops in a 'ring of steel' around Baghdad, spawned a counterchallenge from Al Qaeda in Iraq which included a series of attacks which killed 50 Iraqis and two American soldiers. The Iraqi offensive is seen as a key test of the new Iraqi government and will be watched carefully.

Other Topics Today Include: Operation Squeeze Play; the insurgency grows smarter; prayers for al-Zarqawi; reconstruction highlights; the death penalty returns to Iraq; the Wolf Brigade; Carnival of the Liberated; Tariq Aziz returns to the world stage; possible war crimes prosections.

Read the Rest…

May 27, 2005
300 Filipino Contractors Strike At Camp Cooke In Iraq

It seems 300 Filipinos contracted to work for Prime Projects International and Kellog Brown and Root at Camp Cooke in the province of Taji, Iraq have went on strike after a contract dispute. Prime Projects International supplies Kellog Brown and Root with manpower. 500 other nationals joined the strike as well.

Khaleej Times

It was not specified what their complaints were, but the ministry said the Filipinos and the agencies that employed them failed to agree on certain demands prompting the strike.

The Filipinos were to have been repatriated amid the deadlock, but the Philippine charge d’affaires Ricardo Endaya managed to convince them to enter dialogue and temporarily return to their posts.

US-based Kellog manages non-combat related operations of military installations in Iraq, while Prime Projects recruits Filipino workers for them.

Despite a travel ban to Iraq, the Philippines is the biggest supplier of manpower for US-led coalition forces, with an estimated 6,000 Filipinos working in various camps.

Philippine Star

Endaya reported that at least 500 workers from India, Sri Lanka and Nepal joined the strike led by the Filipino workers.

...

In his report, Endaya said PPI held talks with the 300 overseas Filipino workers, but added the talks remained deadlocked. As a result of the deadlock, the company said it is ready to prepare the return of the OFWs to the Philippines aboard two chartered flights via Dubai International Airport.

Endaya met with the 300 OFWs in Camp Cooke and convinced them to end their labor dispute and return to work.

Originally posted at Diggers Realm

May 26, 2005
US Choppers Hit, One Crashes
A US helicopter has crashed in Iraq after being shot at and the fate of its crew remains unknown, the US military said today.
It said two helicopters received small arms fire near Baquba 60km north of Baghdad last night.

One sustained damage but landed safely at a US base and the “other aircraft crashed and the status of the aircrew is unknown at this time”, the statement said.

“Coalition forces responded to the scene and secured the site,” it said.

A defence official at the Pentagon in Washington said the aircraft was an OH-58 Kiowa, a single-engine two-seater helicopter.

The official had no word on casualties. He said there was no confirmation that the helicopter was shot down.

FOX News (TV) is reporting two dead.

Enter Operation Thunder

In the wake of American led offensives in Western Iraq and Haditha, the Iraqi government has stated it is prepared to commit a massive force to take the initiative away from the insurgency. Iraqi Defense Minister Dulaimi has announced Operation Thunder will commence shortly and will consist of over 40,000 Iraqi troops. The purpose is to secure Baghdad then fan out to other trouble spots, presumably in the restive Anbar province.

It will initially focus on Baghdad but will then expand to other parts of the country. [Defense Minister] Dulaimi did not say when the operation would begin. “These operations will aim to turn the government's role from defensive to offensive.”… He said troops would be drawn from interior and defence ministry forces and would begin operating in the capital, with the city divided into sections, a unit responsible for each. “We will also impose a stringent blockade around Baghdad, like a bracelet around an arm, God willing, and God be with us in our crackdown on the terrorists' infrastructure. No one will be able to penetrate this blockade.”

The ability to muster 40,000 Iraqi troops for a persistent offensive speaks volumes on the progress of the Iraqi security forces, as well as the security situation in other provinces in Iraq. Either the Iraqi government has accumulated a significant excess of available forces, or these forces are being pulled from other areas of Iraq deemed to be secure, or a combination of the two.

Read the rest…

Iraq Violence Kills 10
At least 10 Iraqis died in violence in Iraq, including a child, Thursday as officials launched a new crackdown on insurgents in Baghdad and U.S. forces continued a massive military offensive in Haditha.

The latest violence in Baghdad came as a car bomb exploded near an Iraqi police patrol at about 7:45 a.m. in the northern part of the capital as people headed to work, said police Lt. Haider Hussein.

Hussein and medic Naseer Hashim of Baghdad's Nour Hospital said a car bomb targeted a police patrol, killing three officers; two other Iraqis were killed and 17 were wounded, they said.

Separately, gunmen in a speeding car fired automatic weapons at a group of people walking to work in Baghdad's southern Risala neighborhood, killing four Iraqis, including a translator working for the American military, said police Lt. Hussam Noori.
A child was killed when a mortar landed on his family home on Wednesday, the military added.

Another Iraqi child was killed, this time Thursday, during clashes between U.S. forces and insurgents in northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar , 93 miles east of the Syrian border.

Read more…

Zarqawi's Destination: Which Country?

By the time most of you read this, I will be back in Washington DC. Blogging will continue on Winds of Change as my time allows, but all the same I just wanted to say that you guys are some of the most amazing people out there and it's been an honor to work on the blog with you.

According to media reports and claims on jihadi message boards known to be frequented by members and supporters of al-Qaeda, Abu Musab Zarqawi has suffered injuries and been moved out of Iraq to a neighboring state for medical treatment. The big question then becomes, which neighboring state might he be hiding in?

Read the Rest…

Zarqawi: "Chest Pains" and More Middlemen

Rumors on the status of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi continue to swirl. Earlier this week it was believed he suffered a gut shot. The latest has Zarqawi fleeing the country with a serious chest wound:

An Islamic Web site statement claimed Wednesday that Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi, al Qaeda's point man in Iraq, has fled to a “neighboring country” (see Dan Darling's thoughts on where that might be) with two Arab doctors treating him for gunshot wounds to his lung…. It said al-Zarqawi was in “stable condition now” after he incurred a “bullet wound which penetrated his right lung.”

A Zarqawi lieutenant named Abu Karrar states Zarqawi was wounded in the chest and shoulder, is currently in the care of doctors, and the group is debating who should succeed Zarqawi if he does indeed die. The fact there is no designated successor may provide further insight to al Qaeda in Iraq. Abu Abdelrahman al-Iraqi is designated as the Deputy Commander (see this leadership chart, PDF). A debate on succession may indicate the organization has no confidence in his ability to lead. Another possibility is that al Qaeda plans on having an outsider lead the group. The Deputy Commander's surname is 'al-Iraqi' (from Iraq), and Abu Karrar did state 3 'Arabs' and an Iraqi were in the running for the leadership mantle. While Iraqis are Arabs, Abu Karrar most likely was referring to Arabs as non-Iraqi citizens.

Read the Rest…

May 24, 2005
Seven US Soldiers Killed
Seven US soldiers have been killed in two separate bomb attacks in Iraq.

In the first incident three members of the 3rd Infantry Division died as a car bomb exploded in central Baghdad as their patrol passed along the road.

Shortly afterwards it was announced that four members of II Marine Expeditionary Force were killed in an attack in Haswa, 50km south of Baghdad.

More than 100 Iraqis have also been killed or injured in wave of bombings since Monday morning.

Details of the anti-US attacks are still coming in and the dead soldiers have not been identified as next of kin are being informed.

Read more…

May 23, 2005
Good News from Iraq: 22 May 2005

Note: As always, available from “The Opinion Journal” and Chrenkoff. Thank you to James Taranto and Joe Katzman for their continuing support of the series, and to everyone else for helping to spread the good news.

You might remember Dhia Muhsin, carpenter from a working-class Baghdad neighborhood of al-Dora, who became a celebrity of sorts back in March, when he and his nephews stood up to insurgents who terrorized his area and in a firefight lasting half an hour killed three of them and forced the rest to retreat.

Well, two months on, and Muhsin is still ready to take on any intruders: “I expect them (the insurgents) to come back and I’m ready to face them,” says the 33-year old who seems to have inspired his neighbors:

Al-Dora residents had been too scared to face down the insurgents but after seeing Muhsin’s bravery, some, it seems, have decided to fight back.

“We are ready to confront any terrorist and the people in the area, after they saw what I did, have become more daring and strong,” said Muhsin.

Mudher Khudher, 42, a bakery owner, said he is proud of Muhsin actions and he and others have decided to follow his example, “Dhia taught us that the terrorists are cowards and they can’t face all Iraqis.”

Saleem Barakat, 32, a student, called Muhsin a hero and noted that their street in al-Dora has been quiet since the insurgents were killed.

Al-Dora has not been completely violence-free since that fateful day in March, but the example set by Muhsin is nevertheless very important one for the Iraqi people. Insurgents and terrorists thrive on fear and passivity - they can't win when society turns against them.

This is a lesson that increasing numbers of Iraqis seem to be learning, and it is important more than ever, now that the past two weeks have passed under the shadow of a bloody suicide bombing campaign. This carnage around Iraq has dominated the media coverage, and once again it managed to overshadow most of the positive developments taking place around the country, in security and other areas of life. Below are some of these stories that you might have missed.

20 Killed in Blasts at Mosque, Restaurant Near Baghdad
A car bomb blew up Monday outside a Shiite mosque in a town south of Baghdad, killing at least 10 people and injuring another 30, authorities said.

The explosion occurred at 8 p.m. in front of the Abul-Fadl Abbas mosque in Mahmoudiya, about 20 miles south of Baghdad, Lt. Odai al-Zayadi said.

Dawoud al-Tai, director of the Mahmoudiya general hospital, said 10 bodies and 30 wounded people were brought to his facility.

Meanwhile, another car bomb exploded at a Baghdad restaurant popular with police, killing at least seven people and wounding at least 82, and militants assassinated a top national security official. Five U.S. troops were killed by roadside bombs and a vehicle accident.

Read more….

Winds Iraq Report: May 23/05

Welcome! Our goal at Winds of Change.NET is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from Iraq that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. This briefing is brought to you by Joel Gaines of No Pundit Intended and Andrew Olmsted of Andrew Olmsted dot com.

TOP TOPICS

  • Michael Yon has another dispatch on the battle for Mosul. Plenty of good reading and poignant photos, as usual.

Other Topics Today Include: Al Qaeda in Iraq claims a U.S. pilot; the battle of Mosul; Thunder 6 comes home; the power of candy; reconstruction highlights; al-Sadr at it again; Carnival of the Liberated; T-72s for Iraq; Russia's WMD thoughts; Romanian journalists freed; Support the troops!

Read the Rest…

May 22, 2005
Susan Tom Returns

Longer-time Iraq page readers might recall that it was a year ago this month that Command Post visitors responded to the murder of Nick Berg by raising $15,000 in three days for the education of Susan Tom's children (read the original “Response To Murder” post here).

In honor of the good Susan continues to do, Strengthen The Good (STG) is profiling the Tom Family Education Trust as its current microcharity in a new May tradition.

In keeping with the spirit of STG, Michele and I will donate all contributions to the Command Post tip jar made between 5:30 P.M. EDT May 22nd and Midnight EDT this coming Friday, May 29th to the Tom Family Education Trust. One dollar makes a difference, as does forwarding the STG link on to others. Help however you can, and thank you for working to to strengthen the good!

Posted By Alan at 05:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
U.S. and Iraqi Troops Launch Offensive in Abu Ghraib District

The Associated Press reports that U.S. and Iraqi forces launched a major offensive against insurgents in Baghdad's western Abu Ghraib district on Sunday:

In Baghdad, four battalions of Iraqi troops and three battalions of police backed by U.S. forces cordoned off areas of western Baghdad and searched “suspected terrorist locations,” a military statement said.

The offensive, called “Operation Squeeze Play” was launched to minimize insurgent activity in western Baghdad, the military said. It focused on areas from which militants have launched attacks, particularly against the U.S.-run Abu Ghraib prison.

May 21, 2005
Cool Music Videos from the Troops: Iraq (Armadillo), Kosovo

Courtesy of Evil Pundit, I was recently vectored onto some uber-cool music videos made by troops on the front lines and had to share:

  • The British Royal Dragoon Guards spoofed Tony Christie and Peter Kay with “Is This the Way to Armadillo”. The resulting traffic brings down several Ministry of Defense servers… and the UK MoD congratulates the soldiers on their “brilliant” video! Those Brits have class. We have a BBC report, and links to the full 52MB video.
  • The Norwegian Army keeps its ancient skald traditions alive with the exceptionally well done and funny “Kosovo” (to the tune of The Beach Boys' “Kokomo”). We have video links and lyrics!

On to the links and lyrics…

May 19, 2005
Al-Zarqawi Leaders Met in Syria To Plan Bombings

The Associated Press reports Al-Zarqawi leaders met in Syria to plot the recent wave of violence. According to the Associated Press, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi may have attended the Syrian meeting.

From California Yankee.

May 18, 2005
Purported Zarqawi Tape Says Killing of Muslims Is Justified
A tape said to be recorded by terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi condemns the new government in Baghdad and claims the killing of fellow Muslims is justified in attacks against U.S. soldiers and Iraqi security forces.

The audiotape, posted on the Internet, is believed to be the first from the Jordanian-born militant since the new Iraqi government was put in place in early May. In the past weeks, Al Qaeda in Iraq — the group led by al-Zarqawi — and other terrorists have ramped up their campaign of car bombings, homicide attacks, shootings and kidnappings.

While the audiotape hasn't yet been confirmed to be from al-Zarqawi, U.S. government analysts said that the speaker's voice resembles that of the terror leader, according to a U.S official. The views expressed in the tape are also consistent with those of the terror leader, the official said.

Read more…

May 17, 2005
Spc. Sabrina Harman Convicted in Abuse Case
Harman, 27, was found guilty late Monday on six of the seven charges she faced for her role in the mistreatment of Iraqi inmates in late 2003.

A hearing to determine her sentence was set to begin Tuesday morning. She faces up to 5 1/2 years in prison.

The jury of four Army officers and four senior enlisted soldiers deliberated less than four hours before convicting Harman on one count of conspiracy to maltreat detainees, four counts of maltreating detainees and one count of dereliction of duty.

She was acquitted of allegedly photographing a group of Iraqi prisoners forced to masturbate in public by Abu Ghraib guards. One of Harman's co-defendants testified last week that she was not present when that incident occurred.

Read more…

Clashes in Mosul
U.S. troops and militants clashed in the northern city of Mosul on Tuesday, with heavy exchanges of machine gun fire heard, according to an Associated Press reporter at the scene.

U.S. forces were seen advancing into the eastern neighborhood of Dhubbat, a known insurgent stronghold in Mosul, 225 miles northwest of Baghdad.

“Forces were attacked and called in helicopters to support them in the battle with insurgents,” said U.S. military spokesman Sgt. John Franzen. He did not have further details.

Heavy machine gun exchanges took place in the area between militants and U.S. forces, said the AP reporter who witnessed the clashes.

Read more…

Three Iraq Clerics Killed
Gunmen killed a Shiite Muslim cleric on Tuesday while two missing Sunni clerics were found shot dead, police said. U.S. troops clashed with militants in Mosul, according to reporter on the scene.

[..]

Shiite cleric Sheik Mouwaffaq al-Husseini was shot in a drive-by shooting by unknown gunmen while driving in Baghdad's western Jihad neighborhood, police Capt. Taleb Thamer said.

Two Sunni clerics were found shot dead after being kidnapped by men Sunday from different mosques in Baghdad's northern neighborhood of Shaab by men wearing Iraqi army uniforms, a senior police official said on condition of anonymity.

Read more…

May 16, 2005
Iraq Report, May 16/05

Welcome! Our goal at Winds of Change.NET is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from Iraq that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday. This briefing is brought to you by Joel Gaines of No Pundit Intended and Andrew Olmsted of Andrew Olmsted dot com.

TOP TOPICS

Other Topics Today Include: more bodies in Baghdad; Operations Cobweb; Deuce Four in action; Al Qaeda in Iraq's organization; reconstruction highlights; Syrian interference in Iraq; continuing the state of emergency; Carnival of the Liberated; Saddam writes his memoirs.

Read the Rest…

May 15, 2005
34 Bodies Dscovered in Iraq
Iraqi authorities say they have discovered the bodies of 34 people who had been killed execution-style then dumped in three separate locations.

Iraqi police said they had found the bodies of 13 people who were shot dead and left in a garbage dump in Baghdad.

A police official said the handcuffed men, mostly bearded, were shot in the head and left in an area of eastern Baghdad.

“Residents of the area called us and said a garbage truck came early this morning and dumped the bodies and we confirmed it,” a police official said.

Police in Iskandariya, a town south of Baghdad, said they found 11 bodies on Sunday.

Four of the corpses had been beheaded and at least three were identified as Iraqi soldiers.

The corpses of 10 Iraqi soldiers killed by insurgents have also been found in the western city of Ramadi, the Defence Ministry said.

Read more..

Rice Vsits Iraq
Secretary of State of Condoleezza Rice, on a heavily guarded surprise trip to Iraq on Sunday, urged patience for the country's fragile new government and said Iraqis have made remarkable political progress that can overcome a recent surge of violence.

“Obviously there is a security situation … I want and have wanted to go to Iraq at the right time, and the right time is when they had a new government,” Rice said en route to this town in Kurdish northern Iraq.

Rice flew immediately to the mountain stronghold of Kurdish Democratic Party leader Massoud Barzani . She rode in an Apache military helicopter under extremely heavy security.

The one-day trip was Rice's first visit to Iraq as the nation's top diplomat.

Read more…

May 13, 2005
Baghdad Bombers Caught

From an AP dispatch that spends most of its time covering Operation Matador:

“In another development, Iraqi security forces, with help from the Shiite Muslim Badr Brigades militia, captured an Iraqi and four Palestinians who allegedly carried out a deadly Baghdad market bombing Thursday that killed at least 17 people. The militia is the military wing of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq and Iraq's new interior minister, Bayan Jabr, is a SCIRI member.”

“Palestinians” is often a code word for “Lebanese” who come via Syria.

May 12, 2005
Operation Matador in Northern Iraq

As most of you know, allied forces are sweeping through the north of Iraq near the Syrian border, and finding it surprisingly well fortified as they chew through their objectives. As one of Belmont Club's commenters noted: “Now that the indigs are beginning to work the cities our guys will continue to 'move to contact' in the hinterlands….”

  • Pushing Westward, Winning Hearts and Minds tracks the current progress of the offensive to Abu Hardan on the Syrian border, near Qaim. As our commenters noted, “hot pursuit” into Syria may become an issue soon. Note also that the “winning hearts and minds” bit is sarcastic.
  • Meanwhile, other operations are ongoing in the north. Another Ratline offers some details about operations from Mosul to Tal Afar, and closes with a fine summary of mini-campaigns since Fallujah and a map that's a perfect complement to Belmont Club very predictive October 2004 post The River War.

Read the Rest…

Bombings Kill 17 Iraqis, Two Marines
A car bomb exploded near a busy local market and cinema in eastern Baghdad on Thursday, killing at least 17 people and wounding 65, police said.

In western Iraq, two U.S. Marines were killed and 14 wounded when an explosive device hit their troop transport vehicle during a large American offensive being fought against suspected insurgents, the military said Thursday.

The detonation of the parked car in Baghdad also set fire to a nearby apartment and about 15 vehicles parked in the New Baghdad neighborhood, said police 1st Lt. Mazin Saeed.

The bomb also destroyed 10 parked cars, said police Lt. Col. Ahmed Aboud. He said the wounded included woman and children.

Read more…

May 11, 2005
Al-Zarqawi reported Seriously Injured

Andkronos International news agency reports that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is “serious injured, possibly dead.”

The Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is “serious injured, possibly dead” according to Colonel Fouad Hani Hassan, commander of the fifth division of the Iraqi armed forces, cited by 'Elaph', a popular website in the Arab world. Al-Zarqawi, considered al-Qaeda's leader in Iraq, is believed to have been injured in the major offensive US-led forces have been carrying out in the western Anbar province over the last few days.

From California Yankee.

Bomb Attacks Kill at Least 60 in Iraq
Using car bombs and a man with explosives strapped to his body, terrorists launched five attacks in northern and central Iraq on Wednesday, killing more than 60 people in three cities, police said.

The attacks occurred as hundreds of U.S. Marines pushed through a lawless region of western Iraq near the Syrian border in a military offensive aimed at supporters of the country's most wanted terrorist, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

[..]

In Hawija, a small city 150 miles north of Baghdad, a man with explosives under his clothes set them off while in a line of about 150 men waiting outside a police and army recruitment center, killing 30 people and wounding 35, said police Maj. Sarhad Qadir.

[..]

In Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's hometown 80 miles north of Baghdad, a homicide car bomb exploded in a small market near a police station, killing at least 27 people and wounding 75, said police Capt. Hakim al-Azawi and Nadim Mawloud, an official at Tikrit General Hospit

[…]

In Baghdad, three car bombs exploded Wednesday, killing four people and wounding 14, police said.

The worst blast occurred in the southern neighborhood of Dora near a police station, killing three civilians and wounding nine, said police Col. Salam Alak.

In Yarmouk, an area of west Baghdad, a homicide car bomb targeting a police patrol exploded in Jordan Square, killing a civilian and wounding three policeman, said police Lt. Col. Kadhim Abbas.

In New Baghdad, an eastern area of the capital, a car bomb exploded near al-Darweesh bakery about 100 yards from a police patrol, wounding two civilians and damaging civilian cars parked nearby, said police Lt. Col. Ahmed Aboud.

Read more…

May 08, 2005
Raid on Zarqawi Compound Nabs 54, Kills Six
Coalition forces killed six terrorists in raids targeting the terror network of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi near the Syrian border on Sunday, the U.S. military said.

Weapons caches were found during the operations in Qaim city, and 54 terrorists were detained, the military said in a statement.

It also said that Ghassan Muhammad Amin Husayn al-Rawi, a militant in al-Zarqawi's group who was captured on April 26, had provided intelligence that had helped lead to Sunday's raids.

Read more…

May 07, 2005
Baghdad Car Bomb Kills At Least Six
A homicide car bomb exploded in a busy commercial neighborhood of central Baghdad on Saturday, killing at least six people and wounding nearly 30, officials said. The U.S. military said the casualties included an unspecified number of American civilians.

The powerful blast in Tahrir Square damaged shops and set fire to several cars, said police Maj. Abbas Mohammed Salman . He said six people died.

A police officer at the scene gave a higher casualty count, saying 17 people were killed, including some who appeared to be Westerners. He said 33 people were wounded, all of them apparently Iraqi. He spoke on condition of anonymity, and his information could not immediately be confirmed.

Read more..

May 06, 2005
Iraq Marketplace Blast Kills 22, Injures at Least 40

Sky News:

A suicide bomber has killed at least 22 people in a town south of Baghdad, according to reports.

The bomber blew himself up near a vegetable market in Suwayra.

About 45 other people were injured in the attack which happened after a wave of violence in the past week following the formation of the Iraq government eight days ago.

Bomber kills seven Iraqi police, 14 corpses found
A suicide bomber killed seven policemen in Saddam Hussein’s hometown and 14 corpses were found in Baghdad on Friday in escalating violence that has raised doubts over the new government’s hopes of defeating insurgents.

The suicide car bomber blew up his vehicle beside a minibus taking policemen to work in the northern town of Tikrit, killing seven policemen and wounding several, local police said.

In northern Baghdad, a resident alerted police after he saw bodies being buried. Police found the corpses of 14 men.

Some of the victims, who were blindfolded and wearing civilian clothes, had been shot in the head in execution-style killings, police said.

Read more….

May 05, 2005
Bush OKs Demotion of Abu Ghraib General
President Bush has approved the demotion of Army Reserve Brig.Gen. Janis Karpinski , whose unit was in charge during the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuses in 2003, officials said Thursday.

The Army also said three other, more senior generals had been cleared of wrongdoing in the prisoner abuse cases, actions that had been previously reported. That means Karpinski is the only general to be disciplined.

Karpinski was demoted to colonel, a move that required approval by the president. She also received a written reprimand by Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Richard Cody for dereliction of duty and shoplifting and was formally relieved of command of the 800th Military Police Brigade on April 8.

Read more…

At Least 21 Are Killed in Attacks Targeting Iraqi Security Forces
Insurgents struck in four separate attacks in Baghdad this morning, killing at least 21 people and wounding 19, as the effort to destabilize the newly formed Iraqi government continued.

They followed an attack by a suicide bomber on Wednesday in the Kurdish city of Erbil that killed at least 60 Kurds, most of them prospective policemen.

Gunmen stuck a two-vehicle police patrol at 6 a.m. today in the Baiya neighborhood of southern Baghdad, killing nine policemen and wounding six, an Interior Ministry official said.

At 7:30 a.m. a car bomb went off in western Baghdad near the house of the deputy interior minister for police affairs, Hikmet Mousa Salman. Mr. Salman was not a home, but the blast killed one policemen and wounded six, the official said.

The deadliest single attack came at 8:30 a.m. when a suicide bomber struck at a recruiting center for Iraqi soldiers in Muthanna airport, in northern Baghdad. Eleven people were killed and seven were wounded, an official at the Yarmouk hospital said.

Earlier, another two-car police patrol was attacked by gunmen near a park in southern Baghdad. There was no immediate confirmation of any casualties, but some officers in the first car were believed to have been killed or wounded, the ministry official said.

Officers in the second car were reported to have escaped, but the official said the gunmen then attacked and exploded the vehicle with a home-made bomb.

Read more…

May 04, 2005
Reports: Over 50 Killed in Iraq Bombing [Updated]
In the deadliest insurgent attack in more than two months, an Iraqi carrying hidden explosives entered a police recruitment center and detonated them Wednesday, killing at least 50 Iraqis, the U.S. military said.

State-owned TV in Iraq and Al-Arabiya television gave even higher casualty figures, saying 60 were killed and as many as 150 wounded.

The attack occurred in Irbil , a Kurdish city 220 miles north of Baghdad, as many civilians were applying for Iraqi police jobs at the recruitment center, said Capt. Mark Walter, the spokesman who provided the U.S. military death toll.

Read more…

Update: Reuters confirms reports of at least 60 dead.

May 03, 2005
Pilot's Body Found; Planes Still Missing

AP:

The U.S. military found the body of an American pilot while searching Tuesday for two Marine fighter jets that disappeared while flying in support of operations in Iraq, the military said.

The brief statement did not say whether either of the two missing F/A-18 Hornet (search) aircraft from the USS Carl Vinson had been found or where the body had been recovered.

The search continued for a second missing crew member, the statement said. It was unclear how many servicemen had been aboard th U.S. military said there was no indication of hostile fire in the area at the time contact was lost with the warplanes.

May 02, 2005
U.S. Loses Contact With Two Jets in Iraq
The U.S. military said Tuesday it had lost contact with two jets flying in support of operations in Iraq .

The status of the two U.S. Marine F/A-18 Hornet aircraft and their crew was not immediately known, the military said in a statement.

Contact was lost at 10:10 p.m. Monday, the statement said. There were no initial indications of hostile fire in the area at the time.

Search efforts were underway, the military said. No further information was released.

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England Pleads Guilty to Abuse at Abu Ghraib
Pfc. Lynndie England , the American face of the Abu Ghraib scandal, pleaded guilty Monday to abuse at the notorious Iraqi prison.

As part of an agreement with prosecutors, England, 22, pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to maltreat prisoners, four counts of maltreating prisoners and one count of committing an indecent act.

In exchange, one count of committing an indecent act and one count of dereliction of duty were dropped. The agreement came the day before England's trial was scheduled.

The judge, Col. James Pohl, must still review the deal. If it is approved, a sentencing hearing will determine her punishment.

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Six Die in Baghdad Bombings
Iraqi police say insurgents carried out at least three car bomb attacks in Baghdad Monday, killing at least six people and injuring 12 others.

Police say one of the attacks narrowly missed a top officer of an Interior Ministry police commando unit, but wounded three of his bodyguards.

Two other car bombings took place near a U.S. patrol and in a busy shopping area, where an apartment building and several cars were badly damaged.

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Australian Kidnapped in Iraq Pleads for Life
Iraqi militants kidnapped an Australian man living in California, who pleaded for U.S.-led coalition forces to leave Iraq to save his life, according to a videotape released yesterday.

The tape showed a man identifying himself as Douglas Wood, 63, seated between two masked militants pointing automatic weapons at him.

Wood's wife, Pearl, told The Associated Press that she had seen the tape and that the man being held was definitely her husband. She said he had been in Iraq about a year and half, working as an engineer.

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Australian team to seek hostage's release

Australia rushed an emergency response team to Iraq Monday to seek the release of a 63-year-old Australian man taken hostage by insurgents.

Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer said the team, which includes diplomats, federal police agents and defence personnel, will work closely with American and Iraqi authorities to free Douglas Wood.

Australia: No Negotiation With Terrorists


Australia's leader said Monday he won't bow to kidnappers' demands for the country to withdraw troops from Iraq despite a videotape showing an Australian man appealing at gunpoint for U.S.-led forces to leave the violence-ravaged Arab country.

“Everybody knows the position of the Australian government in relation to hostage demands,” Prime Minister John Howard told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio. “We can't have the foreign policy of this country dictated by terrorists.”

Special Analysis: Who Is Iraq's KPS Gill?

JK: Roublen Vessau is a frewquent commenter here at Winds of Change.NET. He sent this to me as a back-channel email. We have a tendency to turn really good emails and comments section entries into Guest Blogs here, so here it is with Roublen's permission.

Wanted: A Few Good Arab Iraqi Sunnis. Who is Iraq's KPS Gill?
by Roublen Vessau

I was reading about the latest car bomb attacks in Iraq, and read with disappointment the spokesman of the Sunni clerics basically shrug his shoulders and say, in essence, “we're not going to lift a finger to try and restrain the insurgency” because “we don't see any hope”. What Iraq needs right now are a few really, really good, high-profile Arab Iraqi Sunni leaders who are 1) committed to ending the violence 2) are not viewed as puppets or quislings by the Arab Iraqi Sunni population.

When India was trying to fight separatist Sikh terrorists in Punjab, a Sikh police officer named KPS Gill played a pivotal role in giving the anti-terrorism effort legitimacy among Punjabi Sikhs and among all Indians.

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May 01, 2005
Car Bomb Targets Iraq Funeral, 25 Dead
A car bomb obliterated a tent packed with mourners at the funeral of a Kurdish official in northern Iraq on Sunday, killing 25 people and wounding more than 50 in the single deadliest attack since insurgents started bearing down on Iraq's newly named government late last week.

[..]

The car bomb attack occurred in Tal Afar, 93 miles east of the Syrian border, the U.S. military and a provincial official said. Mourners had gathered for the funeral of Sayed Talib Sayed Wahab, an official of the Kurdish Democratic Party, said deputy provincial governor and party spokesman Khisru Goran, speaking from nearby Mosul.

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Speed Kills

From Reuters :

The U.S. Army said the car was “speeding” toward the checkpoint, that U.S. soldiers tried to get it to stop by using hand and arm signals, flashing white lights and firing warning shots then shot into its engine block when it did not stop.

CBS news has reported that a U.S. satellite had filmed the shooting and that it had been established the car carrying Calipari was traveling at more than 60 mph per hour as it approached the U.S. checkpoint in Baghdad.

From the LA Times :

The Army says the car was speeding toward the checkpoint and that U.S. soldiers tried to get it to stop by using hand and arm signals, flashing white lights and firing warning shots, and then shot into its engine block when it did not stop.

Note the deletion of the evidence that backs up the US Army's contention.

Hat Tip: Patterico, also Instapundit, Captain's Quarters, LGF and numerous others.

5 Police Killed in Roadblock Shooting

From Reuters via the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :

Gunmen have killed five Iraqi policemen at a checkpoint in Baghdad and the attack was followed by an explosion in the area.

The checkpoint attack occurred near a military college that now serves as a camp for US troops. No other details were immediately known.

Iraq Raid Nets Hassan Kidnapping Suspects

From Reuters via the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :

US and Iraqi forces raided a suspected insurgent hide-out near Baghdad and arrested several people believed linked to the killing of British aid worker Margaret Hassan.

Iraqi police say the raids happened near the town of Madaen, about 40 kilometres south-east of Baghdad.

They say 11 people have been detained, including five of who have admitted complicity in the murder of Ms Hassan.

Ms Hassan, a British national who was head of CARE International in Iraq, was kidnapped last October.

She was killed about a month later after appealing in video messages made by her abductors for British forces to withdraw from Iraq.

We are aware that a raid was conducted and that items were recovered that we believe may belong to Margaret Hassan,” a spokesman for the British embassy said.

There is reasonable evidence to believe that the items were Hassan's … But until our police have finished their investigation we cannot say definitively.

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