30 Dead, Dozens Wounded by Guerrillas
In Response to Operation Lightning
Guerrillas in Baghdad fought determinedly against the 40,000 Iraqi soldiers fielded to crack down on violence in Baghdad. AFP writes,
“Four car bombs in and around the capital killed 16 people, most of them security personnel, Sunday, in a swift response to Iraq’s widest homegrown clampdown since the fall of Saddam Hussein over two years ago. Nine soldiers taking part in Operation Lightning died in a suicide car bombing at their roadblock just south of the capital, while two policemen were killed when a suicide car bomber targeted their patrol in southwestern Baghdad. In western Baghdad, a car bomb targeting police commandos killed three people and wounded 20, an interior ministry source said, adding that police had then fought a firefight with men in the area. An earlier suicide bombing near the oil ministry left two dead, while violence elsewhere claimed the lives of a British soldier and seven Iraqis.”
John Burns of the NYT says that the guerrillas are putting up a vigorous fight against government troops and that 14 died in a pitched battle between the two that lasted for hours.
US troops arrested Muhsin Abd al-Hamid Monday morning. He is the head of the (Sunni) Iraqi Islamic Party and had served on the Interim Governing Council appointed by Bremer. The IIP initially announced that they would take part in the parliamentary elections, then declared neutrality because of the November, 2004, Fallujah campaign.
Forbes reports, “Hamid, leader of the Iraq Islamic Party, was hooded and taken away after US troops broke windows in his home and allegedly mistreated him and his sons, the party official said. “
Actually it is not clear under the provisional Iraqi constitution that it is legal for US troops just to go arrest people.
The arrest of a major Sunni leader will cerainly have an impact on the guerrilla movement. Journalists are already talking about a new potential civil war among the sects.
Will write more on Monday afternoon.