27 Killed in Iraq Violence, 3 US Soldiers Wounded
Wire services report that some 27 persons were known to be killed in violent incidents in Iraq on Wednesday, though this number seems likely to be a fraction of the true total.
The Bahrain Daily News says, “A suicide attacker drove his bomb-laden car into a US convoy during fierce fighting in the town of Beiji, 250km north of Baghdad, killing 10 people and wounding 12, including three American soldiers.” Fighting between the US and local guerrillas in Ramadi caused the deaths of 7 persons and wounded 13.
US warplanes continued to strike targets in Fallujah, though the US maintained that most of the city was now under their control.
In a chilling incident, over 60 police trainees were kidnapped from their hotel near the Jordanian border (they were returning from training in Amman) and were held by guerrillas for a few hours before being released. Dozens of police trainees had been ambushed and brutally killed on October 24. A lot of these young men appear to be Shiites, and that was true in the earlier incident, so that there is an element of Sunni-Shiite sectarian violence here.
In response, according to al-Hayat, a militant group has been formed in mainly Shiite Basra, called the Fury Brigades, which aims at protecting Shiites moving about in the area south of Baghdad, including Latifiyah, Mahmudiyah and Iskandariyah, which they term the “Triangle of Death.” This region had been largely Shiite, but Saddam had brought in a lot of Sunnis and given them the Shiites’ land, so that now it is the region with perhaps the highest incidence of Sunni-Shiite violence. Having Shiite militiamen come up to the region from Basra to settle scores is a bad idea and could lead to lots of sectarian strife.