Clashes in Mosul, Samarra
The massive bomb in Baghdad that killed 30 persons and wounded 25 the night of Tuesday- Wednesday turns out to have been an ambush. Guerrillas contacted the Iraqi police, told them the house was a safe house, and when the police approached, they blew it up. They also flattened ten houses around it.
The Guardian also says, “In the southern province of Babil, police said 20 members of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s Imam al-Madhi Army militia were detained on suspicion of involvement in planting explosives and attacking police stations in the region.”
Guerrillas launched a daring truck bomb attack on US troops in Mosul on Wednesday. The US troops replied with small arms fire and then called in jets to bombard the southern part of the city.
Al-Zaman Students in the Colleges of Science, Engineering and Education at Mosul University demonstrated for the first time Wednesday, demanding that general examinations be postponed for a semester, until early February 2006, instead of being held in summer of 2005. They said that the lack of heating oil made it hard for them to study, and the lack of gasoline made it difficult for many students to get to class.
Al-Zaman: Sources in the police announced that they had discovered the bodies of an Iraqi contractor and a female engineer on the road between Mosul and Tuz, and found the body of a Turkish truck driver in Bid’iyyah just south of Samarra. Two policemen were wounded by guerrillas in the district of Yathrib to the east of Balad.
The National Guards said that they had captured 25 suspects in al-Azamiyah along with weaponry, and another 25 in Mahmudiyah, both districts of Baghdad. They alleged that among those captured in Mahmudiyah were some Syrians. An Egyptian was captured in Karradah, along with pamphlets and grenades. They also said that 8 guerrillas mounted an attack on the National Guards in Rustumiyah, but that they were captured after an exchange of fire. The US military announced that three suspected guerrillas were captured in the district of Balad, and clashes broke out between National Guards and guerrillas in Samarra.
It was announced that two Iraqi children recently led the Marines to a site where roadside bombs were concealed, near Baiji.
Around 12 noon on Wednesday, National Guards and guerrillas clashed in Samarra’s al-Bubaz district, which had witnessed a roadside bomb explosion recently. The National Guards were searching the area near Samarra General Hospital, when guerrillas opened fire on them.
Reuters reported of the Samarra clash that it involved both Iraqi national guards and US troops. The US military announced that two patrols had come under fire. US helicopter gunships were called in, shops closed, and the area was deserted. The previous night, a roadside bomb had wounded one US soldier and five Iraqi policemen in Samarra.
“An Iraqi National Guardsman was killed on Wednesday in the Siniya area west of Samarra, an officer in the US-backed force said. Around 110 Guards also resigned after their Siniya commander was killed in a car bomb explosion along with several Guards two weeks ago. The eight-member Siniya village council resigned yesterday following the assassination of its president.”
I have noticed a pattern of assassinations of members of provincial and municipal governing councils in recent weeks. Presumably these actions are aimed at derailing the provincial elections also scheduled for January 30. The guerrillas’ success in causing the whole governing council of Siniyah to resign, along with over 100 National Guards, seems ominous. In the wake of all those resignations, presumably the guerrillas that had threatened these people are now in control of the village.
The human side of the poor security situation in Iraq is apparent in Jackie Spinner’s article today for the Washington Post on how widespread veiling has been forced on formerly relatively liberated Iraqi women. Spinner’s piece belies claims made earlier this year by Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz that the US had improved the situation of women in Iraq.