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Posted: 9/27/2004 4:17:26 AM EDT
U.S. bombings kill 100 guerrilla suspects in Fallujah, military says

By Jim Krane, Associated Press, 9/26/2004 15:38


A month of U.S. airstrikes on rebel-held Fallujah has killed more than 100 suspected insurgents, taking a heavy toll on the terror network of Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, senior U.S. military officials said on Sunday.

The strikes have stopped attacks elsewhere in Iraq while setting off deadly feuds among insurgent groups holed up in the city west of Baghdad, said Air Force Brig. Gen. Erv Lessel, deputy operations director for U.S.-led forces here.

''We're confident that, through these airstrikes, we have been able to thwart many large-scale attacks and suicide bombings that were in the planning process,'' Lessel said in a briefing with reporters. ''We've gotten some of his associates and emerging leadership in his organization.''

The airstrikes have not, however, halted a record number of car bombings this month, mainly in Baghdad and nearby Sunni Muslim majority cities. With a twin car bombing outside an Iraqi national guard base that wounded U.S. and Iraqi troops Sunday, at least 34 suicide car bombings have been launched in September.

U.S. and Iraqi officials regularly blame al-Zarqawi's network for the deadliest of the bombings plaguing Iraq. The Jordanian is also thought to lead the Tawhid and Jihad group that has claimed responsibility for abducting dozens of the 140 foreigners kidnapped in Iraq, and killing many of them, including two American civil engineers beheaded last week.

For the past for weeks, U.S. airstrikes have pounded suspected insurgent safe houses in Fallujah on an almost nightly basis.

Witnesses and hospital officials have disputed U.S. military accounts of the bombings, reporting that dozens of noncombatants, including women and children, have been killed or wounded in the strikes.

In Fallujah, a former colonel in the Iraqi army who identified himself only as Abu Thar, a 45-year-old guerrilla leader, said the bombing raids were sending more recruits into the anti-U.S. resistance.

''They are saying they want to kill al-Zarqawi, but instead they are bombing innocent families,'' Abu Thar said. ''Iraqis' hatred is growing, which means the resistance is growing.''

On Saturday night, U.S. warplanes, tanks and artillery leveled two buildings and a cluster of rebel-built fortifications in Fallujah. The U.S. military believed the buildings were the site of a meeting of members of al-Zarqawi's group. Doctors said 16 people were killed and 37 wounded in the attack.

One U.S. official described television pictures that showed a child's body being removed from the rubble Saturday as ''propaganda that the Zarqawi network is putting out.''

Lessel and Army Brig. Gen. John DeFreitas, deputy director for military intelligence, didn't rule out that civilians were being killed in the raids. But they said they suspect Fallujah-based hospital officials were overstating claims that women and children were being killed in each bombing.

''We've seen reports from the hospital about dead and wounded within 45 minutes of airstrikes,'' Lessel said, which, he said, was too soon for victims to have been transported from the site of the attack. He also said wounded people shown on television could not have survived the airstrikes.

''You have to look at how much you trust the source of reporting about civilian casualties,'' Lessel said. ''Many come out of Fallujah, where we have evidence of foreign fighter presence in the hospital.''

U.S. warplanes drop precision-guided munitions that can destroy a target house and leave neighboring homes intact, but civilians are killed if they are inside or too close to the buildings hit, Lessel said.

''We can't with 100 percent certainty say that we haven't killed any civilians,'' the general said. ''We have canceled strikes, though, because our intelligence indicates the presence of civilians.''

The success of the attacks can be seen in reports of infighting among members of al-Zarqawi's network and allies in criminal gangs and other groups inside the city, the officials said, noting that guerrilla leaders were executing those suspected of giving intelligence to the Americans.

''There's a trust issue,'' DeFreitas said. ''Some members on the inside are providing information and are subsequently being executed.''

A recent video CD released by Fallujah-based insurgents graphically illustrates one such killing, while giving insights into U.S. intelligence operations in the city.

The CD shows an Egyptian man confessing to placing tiny transmitters near buildings used by insurgents. The man held one of the matchbook-sized chips in his hand, and said the U.S. military gave others like it to him, to pinpoint locations of sites to bomb.

After the confession, masked men standing behind the Egyptian shoved him to the ground and brutally beheaded him.

Abu Thar said U.S. spies were a major problem for fighters in Fallujah.

''In every war there are spies who are ready to sell themselves to the occupiers,'' he said. ''Those agents might be your friend or your neighbor and they provide the Americans with information in return for money.''

Link Posted: 9/27/2004 4:34:06 AM EDT
while we can keep killing them by the 100's, I truly believe the answer in this shit-hole is to have a pro-american, yet ruthless, Iraqi security force ruling the streets.

The people there seem only responsive to force.

If we can get that in place, without the force being corrupt, and and be sure the force supports the political leadership, we will have our win.

Link Posted: 9/27/2004 4:36:46 AM EDT
Just 100?


Link Posted: 9/27/2004 4:37:48 AM EDT
100 is a good start.
Link Posted: 9/27/2004 5:38:03 AM EDT
Only 100? somebody is slacking. Now get back in there and up that count some more!
Link Posted: 9/27/2004 5:41:00 AM EDT
Hopefully the pace (body count) will pick up after November 2nd.
Link Posted: 9/27/2004 5:52:59 AM EDT
And who is counting up that 100? I hate to say it again but let's not get all Vietnam on the body counts, boys. All that bombing is nice, but I want to read it from the guys who walked over the 100 dead BG's with his well-worn boots.
Link Posted: 9/27/2004 5:53:49 AM EDT
good riddance... now get back to work...
Link Posted: 9/27/2004 7:19:21 AM EDT
This morning we launced THREE raids on the Sadr City suburb of Baghdad

U.S. Jets Pound Militant Positions in Iraq

BAGHDAD, Iraq (Sept. 27) - U.S. jets pounded suspected Shiite militant positions in the Baghdad slum of Sadr City on Monday, killing at least five people and wounding 46. In the northern city of Mosul, insurgents set off a car bomb that killed four National Guardsmen.

The U.S. military said the strikes in Sadr City, a hotbed of insurgents loyal to renegade Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, struck several ''positively identified'' militant hideouts.

Residents said explosions lit up the night sky for hours before dawn. Mangled vehicles, debris and shards of glass littered the streets.

Dr. Qassem Saddam of the Imam Ali hospital in Sadr City said five people were killed and 40 were wounded - including 15 women and nine children. At least two children wrapped in bloodstains bandages could be seen lying in hospital beds and one man suffered burns from head-to-toe.

Lt. Col. Jim Hutton said insurgents also fired three mortar rounds at a nearby U.S. Army base, but that the shells fell short and exploded in a civilian neighborhood. It was not immediately known if there any casualties.

''While maintaining security is a primary concern, we are also very concerned about minimizing collateral damage and putting the innocent residents of eastern Baghdad at risk,'' Hutton said. ''The enemy shows no concern for the Iraqi people.''

In Mosul, insurgents set off a car bomb as a seven-vehicle Iraqi National Guard patrol was passing by, killing at least four guardsmen and wounding three others, police said.

Gunmen followed up the blast with a burst of automatic weapons fire before fleeing the scene, said Lt. Col. Saleh Jamer, the patrol's commander.

Police Capt. Mushtaq Abdul-Karim said the explosion killed at least four guardsmen and wounded three others and also hurt a civilian.

In a separate attack, insurgents fired several mortar rounds that struck a police academy on Palestine street in east Baghdad early Monday, Interior Ministry spokesman Col. Najah Shakre. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

The National Guard is the centerpiece of U.S. plans to turn over security responsibilities after elections slated for January. Guardsmen and Iraqi police have been repeatedly targeted by insurgents who are trying to undermine the interim government and drive out the U.S.-led coalition.

Also Monday, a roadside bomb apparently intended for a U.S. military convoy exploded prematurely outside the city of Baqouba, killing four civilians, said Hussein Ali of the Baqouba General Hospital.

The latest attacks came as al-Sadr aides announced that the cleric plans to release a new peace initiative soon to put an end to the fighting between his militiamen and U.S. forces and help pave the way for general elections scheduled for early next year. However, al-Sadr has made similar promises before that came to nothing.

Sheik Hassan al-Adhari, who heads al-Sadr's office in Sadr City, said the initiative ''aims to achieve peace in all parts of Iraq and lays out a plan to hold general elections across the country in order to silence those who say it cannot be held because of the security situation.'' He declined to provide details of the plan.

The persistent violence, coupled with the coalition forces' lack of control in key parts of the country, have raised questions about the feasibility of holding elections by the Jan. 31 deadline.

Shiites, who make up about 60 percent of Iraq's 25 million people, are eager to hold elections as they expect to dominate whatever government emerges.

On Sunday, two car bombs wounded American and Iraqi troops in Kharma, a town on the outskirts of the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah. The two attackers who died in the twin blasts tried to ram their cars into a National Guard base, a U.S. military official said on condition of anonymity.

The number of U.S. and Iraqi casualties was not immediately clear, but a statement from the U.S. Marines said there were no serious injuries among American troops at the base.

Meanwhile, a U.S. military statement announced the detention of National Guard Brig. Gen. Talib al-Lahibi, who previously served as an infantry officer in Saddam Hussein's army. He was detained Thursday in the province of Diyala, northeast of Baghdad.

The statement provided no details, but said he was suspected of having links to militants who have been attacking coalition and Iraqi forces for 17 months. Al-Lahibi was the acting head of the Iraqi National Guard for Diyala province, said Maj. Neal O'Brien, spokesman for the U.S. Army's 1st Infantry Division.

The persistent violence, coupled with the coalition forces' lack of control in key parts of the country, have raised questions about the feasibility of holding elections by the Jan. 31 deadline.

Secretary of State Colin Powell said Sunday that the United States is committed to allowing all Iraqis the chance to vote, but the top U.S. military commander in the region cautioned against expecting that sort of achievement.

Both Powell and Gen. John Abizaid spoke of a major political and military effort before the scheduled elections to take back areas that insurgents now control.

Powell said planning is under way for an Iraqi conference, possibly next month, that would include the leading industrialized nations and regional powers, including Iran and Syria.

''This was a way to reach out to Iraq's immediate neighbors and persuade them that this is the time to help Iraq, so that the region can become stable,'' Powell said on CNN's ''Late Edition.''

AP-NY-09-27-04 0804EDT

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
Link Posted: 9/27/2004 7:19:58 AM EDT
Go team !

Link Posted: 9/27/2004 7:27:11 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/27/2004 7:28:15 AM EDT by _Ugly_]

Originally Posted By osprey21:
U.S. bombings kill 100 guerrilla suspects in Fallujah, military says

Reminds me of what that British Major said to Quigly in Quigly down under...

"The trial will not be lengthy."
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