View Full Version : 233 Attacks on US in Last Week Alone

Phantom Blooper
10-29-03, 08:42 PM
233 Attacks on US in Last Week Alone
Naseer Al-Nahr, Asharq Al-Awsat

BAGHDAD, 30 October 2003 — In a dramatic upsurge in attacks, resistance fighters destroyed an American tank north of Baghdad and wounded seven Ukrainians in the first ambush of multinational troops stationed south of the capital, US and coalition officials said yesterday.

US policy in Iraq suffered another setback when the international Red Cross announced it was reducing its international staff in the country, two days after a deadly suicide car-bombing at its Baghdad headquarters.

Secretary of State Colin Powell had urged the Red Cross and other non-government organizations to remain in Iraq because “if they are driven out, then the terrorists win.”

The latest attacks — 233 over the last seven days according to the US military — have driven the combat death toll during the occupation over the number killed before President George W. Bush declared an end to active combat on May 1.

Two American soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division were killed and one was wounded late Tuesday when their Abrams main battle tank apparently hit a land mine near Balad, 70 kilometers north of Baghdad, division spokeswoman Maj. Jossyln Aberle said.

Their deaths brought to 117 the number of American soldiers killed by hostile fire since Bush declared active combat over. A total of 114 US soldiers were killed between the start of the war March 20 and the end of April.

It was the first M1 Abrams main battle tank destroyed since the end of major combat May 1, military officials said. During the active combat phase, several of the 68-ton vehicles — the mainstay of the US Army’s armored forces — were disabled in combat.

The ambush of the Ukrainians occurred Tuesday night when two armored personnel carriers rolled over land mines near Suwayrah, about 65 kilometers southeast of Baghdad.

After the vehicles were disabled, unidentified gunmen opened fire on the disembarked soldiers, a spokesman for the multinational division at Camp Babylon said on condition of anonymity.

About 1,650 Ukrainians are serving in the Polish-led stabilization force patrolling central and southern Iraq. The spokesman said it was the first ambush of coalition forces in the Polish sector.

In Geneva, the International Committee of the Red Cross said it would remain in Iraq, but would reduce the number of international staff — currently about 30 — and increase the security of those who remain. The agency also has 600 Iraqi employees.

“The ICRC remains committed to helping the people of Iraq,” said Pierre Kraehenbuehl, director of operations of the ICRC.

The Brussels-based humanitarian organization, Medecins Sans Frontieres, or Doctors Without Borders, also announced it was pulling out part of its international staff from Iraq for security reasons.

Officials of the group said medical personnel had been scheduled to leave Baghdad in the near future, but their departure was hastened by the Red Cross attack.

“The reduction was foreseen,” spokeswoman Linda Van Weyenberg said. “It was sped up because of events. It’s a balance between the security of the staff and the needs of the population on the ground.”

Baghdad police commander Maj. Gen. Hassan Al-Obeid yesterday announced new measures to bolster security in the capital, including additional 24-hour checkpoints and special patrols around sensitive locations, according to coalition-run Iraqi television.