Heavy Fighting at Buhriz Kills 15
Paul Garwood of AP reports that “the carnage” continued in Iraq over the weekend.
US troops made a sweep of Buhriz, northeast of Baghdad near Baqubah, which is a radical Salafi (“Sunni fundamentalist”) stronghold, which has mounted numerous rebellions in recent months. Its nearby date palm groves were suspected of affording cover to guerrillas.
The US soldiers were supported by Iraqi National Guard troops, who came into direct conflict with guerrillas in the southern part of the city. The US gave air support to the Iraqi National Guards, levelling at least one building. The firefight lasted 5 hours, and left 15 Iraqis (guerrillas?) dead, with no US or Iraqi National Guard casualties. (The latter statistic suggests to me that the deaths were probably mainly the result of firing by US artillery, helicopter gunships and US fighter jets. If the Iraqi National Guard had advanced into the city and engaged in close combat with the guerrillas, it seems a little unlikely that they would have been entirely unscathed.
The BBC showed footage of the fighting, and the guerrillas looked to me as though they were imitating Saudi dress.
Assistant Deputy Minister of the Interior Col. Aidan Khalid Qadir was attacked in al-Hillah on Sunday but narrowly escaped assassination. Guerrillas killed two of his bodyguards. (az-Zaman).
Guerrillas killed five persons in Kirkuk.
Someone assassinated a former Baath district head, Brig. Khaled Dawoud, in Baghdad. His son was also killed in the drive-by shooting. (This assassination was unlikely to be the work of insurgents– more likely it is a revenge killing by Dawoud’s victims).
A roadside bomb killed a US soldier near Beiji and injured another.
The various hostage crises continued, with two Pakistanis having been added to the list of those held.
Some in the US military are arguing that US troops should adopt a less visible posture in Iraq, since their presence (and home invasions) provokes a good deal of the violence in the country. If it is militarily possible to get the US military out of sight except when being actively deployed to face guerrillas, that would be an excellent idea. The question is whether the Iraqi National Guards are up to substituting for them on routine patrols, etc.