4 US Servicement Killed
Bombing in Baqubah leaves 6 dead
AP reports that guerrillas killed two US Marines and two US soldiers in Anbar province on Monday and Tuesday. The two Marines were killed Tuesday. One soldier was killed and another wounded on Monday, and the wounded soldier died on Tuesday. The total toll for US military deaths in Iraq now stands at 899 according to this article.
Guerrillas detonated a bomb on a civilian bus in Baqubah on Tuesday, killing as many as 6 persons. Baqubah, the capital of Diyala province, is a mixed city with both Sunnis and Shiites, and has been the site of persistent fighting against US troops and Iraqi security forces by elements in both groups.
In Samarra, a largely Sunni city north of Baghdad where there has been some sort of insurgency (neo-Baathist or Islamist) that has at times taken over the city, the guerrillas engaged in fierce firefights with US troops. Four Iraqis were killed and five wounded in the fighting. The US forces destroyed two houses from which they were taking fire, one being destroyed by a 500 pound bomb from a warplane they called in.
AP said that as of Wednesday, 899 U.S. service members had died since the beginning of the Iraq War. Although over 200 of these are classified as non-combat deaths, many in fact were related to combat (e.g. if a jeep overturned the soldiers killed were not categorized as having died in combat, even though some sort of violence may have been a proximate cause of the accident). As of Tuesday, the number of troops wounded as a direct result of hostile action was 5,804. Again, the true number of those wounded as a result of hostilities is higher.
Meanwhile, the Boston Globe reports that
“Nearly as many U.S. soldiers lost their lives in Iraq in the first half of July as in all of June, even as Iraqi insurgents seemed to have shifted their focus from attacking U.S. targets to aiming instead at Iraqi security forces and government officials. The relatively high rate of U.S. military casualties has dimmed hopes that the handover of power to the Iraqi government would help stabilize the country and reduce pressure on U.S. soldiers . . . Since the June 28 handover of power, the 160,000 coalition forces have lost averaged more than two deaths a day, among the highest rates of loss since the war began 15 months ago. By Saturday, 36 U.S. soldiers had died this month, compared with 42 last month, according to an analysis of official statistics by The Boston Globe.”
Az-Zaman: On Tuesday, unidentified gunmen assassinated Laith Husain Ali, an official of the Turkmen Front, in Mosul. They sprayed his car with machine gun fire. Mosul is a largely Arab city in the north surrounded by Kurds and Turkmen, and there have been ethnic tensions in that area. Many Iraqi Turkmen believe that their numbers are underestimated and that they deserve a province of their own. Their cause is championed by Turkey. Two suspected guerrilla fighters were arrested in Mosul on Tuesday.
The Danish camp in south Iraq came under rocket fire at the beginning of the week, but there were no casualties.
A man was arrested in Karbala by police late Tuesday for stockpiling an enormous amount of explosives, rockets, grenades and other weaponry. The police say he confessed to being a terrorist with ties abroad, but did not provide specifics.