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thedrifter
04-26-04, 07:15 AM
U.S. troops likely to move into parts of Najaf soon; American patrols to begin in Fallujah

By: JASON KEYSER - Associated Press Writer

FALLUJAH, Iraq (AP) -- The U.S. military extended a cease-fire for Fallujah on Sunday for at least two more days, backing down from warnings of an all-out Marine assault and announcing that American and Iraqi forces would begin joint patrols in the city.

The patrols are to begin as early as Tuesday, and Fallujah officials will announce in the city that anyone seen carrying a weapon will be considered hostile.

Meanwhile, a U.S. general told The Associated Press that troops will move into a base on the edge of the holy city of Najaf to be abandoned by Spanish troops when they withdraw from Iraq in the coming weeks. But the Americans will remain away from holy sites -- an effort to avoid outraging Iraq's Shiite majority, which opposes any U.S. foray near their most sacred shrine.


The troops aim to "counter the forces" of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, Brig. Gen. Mark Hertling said. A coalition spokesman, Dan Senor, said weapons were being stockpiled in mosques and schools in Najaf -- a practice he said must stop.

The measures in Fallujah and Najaf were announced a day after President Bush held a teleconference with senior national security and military advisers to discuss the situation in Fallujah and the rest of Iraq.

The moves appeared aimed at bringing a degree of control over the cities without re-igniting the intense violence that began when U.S. authorities moved on the two fronts simultaneously at the start of April.

The wave of fighting since has killed up to 1,200 Iraqis and 111 U.S. troops, nearly as many in 25 days as the 115 Americans who were killed during the two-month invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein a year ago.

The deal to bring patrols into Fallujah meant extending the cease-fire, the U.S. military said. Military action in the city was still an option, Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt said, but the warning was dramatically toned down from those in the past week.

The new steps in Fallujah were not without risks.

There was little guarantee that guerrillas in Fallujah won't attack joint U.S.-Iraqi patrols. Some Marine commanders said privately they had hoped to push on with an offensive deeper into the city and were concerned Marine patrols would become targets.

Iraqi security forces due to patrol with them were equally ill at ease.

"I don't feel safe because the Americans themselves are not safe," police Capt. Jassim Abed said. "They get shot at. They can't guarantee safety for themselves, so how can they guarantee my safety?"

Marine Lt. Col Brennan Byrne, on Fallujah's outskirts, said patrols may not start until Thursday as Marines and Iraqi forces organize them.

He said the patrols would be backed by armor and air support but for now will steer clear of Fallujah's Julan district, a poorer neighborhood where many insurgents are concentrated.

"It will be a combat patrol in the city that is prepared to deal with anything they run into," he said. "If we are attacked, we will absolutely eradicate that source of fire." But he added that individual attacks would not lead to a wider engagement.

U.S. occupation leaders are under pressure not to launch major military action. Some U.S.-picked Iraqi leaders were angered by the Fallujah siege. The top U.N. envoy for Iraq, Lakhdar Brahimi -- who has been asked by Washington to help pick a new government -- warned the United States against assaults on Najaf or Fallujah

"When you surround a city, you bomb the city, when people cannot go to hospital, what name do you have for that? ... If you have enemies there, this is exactly what they want you to do, to alienate more people so that more people support them rather than you," Brahimi said of Fallujah on ABC's "This Week."

"In this situation, there is no military solution," he said.

In the latest U.S. deaths, a soldier was killed Sunday when a roadside bomb hit his patrol in eastern Baghdad. A U.S. Coast Guardsman also died of wounds suffered the night before in a suicide boat attack on oil facilities that killed two Navy sailors.

Iraq's main outlet for oil exports, the Al-Basra terminal, was damaged and won't be able to resume loading tankers until Monday at the earliest, said Oil Minister Ibrahim Bahr al-Ulloum. The closure cost Iraq around 1 million barrels in exports the first day.

Mortar attacks in the northern city of Mosul killed two Iraqis outside a hotel, and an explosion outside a hospital killed two Iraqis and wounded 10, the U.S. military said.

As U.S. officials toned down recent warnings, they also spoke of progress in Fallujah. "At this point, it would not seem to be constructive for either side to be laying down ultimatums," Kimmitt said.

Still, he said there had been no more weapons handed over -- not even the kind of rusted, broken or otherwise useless ones that were surrendered last week. U.S. officials have been complaining for days that guerrillas were not abiding by a call to disarm issued under the agreement reached with American negotiators.

He also said insurgents were still shooting at U.S. troops in the past 24 hours. A helicopter gunship fired on a house in Fallujah where guerrillas had been seen preparing a mortar on Friday, killing 25 fighters, Kimmitt said.

The patrols are "the first step to returning the city to a sense of stability," he said.

Hachim al-Hassani, a top Iraqi mediator in negotiations over Fallujah, said city officials had promised the patrols would be respected. "We hope the U.S. soldiers will not be attacked when they enter the city. If they are attacked, they will respond and this will lead to problems," he said.

Marine commanders have expressed concern that the city officials cannot speak for the insurgents.

Marines on Sunday began allowing more families who fled Fallujah amid recent fighting to return. Kimmitt said 67 families would be let in Sunday. More than a third of the city's population of 200,000 fled the siege. Marines had halted their return because guerrillas were not turning in weapons and because they wanted to keep civilians out in case fighting resumed.

Meanwhile, Hertling told troops based outside Najaf that the U.S. military was "coordinating to move" into the Najaf base being vacated by Spanish forces.

"We probably will go into the central part" between the adjacent cities of Kufa and Najaf, where the Spanish base is located. "Will we interfere in the religious institutions? Absolutely not," said Hertling, a deputy commander of the 1st Armored Division. He gave no timeframe for the move.

In Baghdad, Kimmitt said "it is not our understanding that we will have soldiers going into Najaf soon."

Hertling said the move aimed to increase pressure on al-Sadr and his militia.

"It's not going to be large-scale fighting, the likes of other places," he said. But "we're going to drive this guy into the dirt." --------

AP correspondents Denis D. Gray in Najaf and Louis Meixler in Baghdad contributed to this report.

http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2004/04/26/military/21_18_164_25_04.txt


Ellie

thedrifter
04-26-04, 07:16 AM
Blast Destroys Iraq Building, Injures GI

By BASSEM MROUE

BAGHDAD, Iraq - An explosion leveled part of a building as U.S. troops were raiding it in northern Baghdad on Monday, wrecking four U.S. Humvees and wounding at least one soldier and several Iraqis.

Meanwhile, fighting broke out in a northern district of Fallujah, with the sound of mortar fire and heavy machine guns, a day after U.S. officials announced a fragile cease-fire in the besieged city was being extended.

Thick black smoke rose from Fallujah's Jolan district, a poor neighborhood thought to have a heavy concentration of Sunni insurgent fighters. There were no immediate reports on how the fighting began or casualties.

The cause of the explosion in Baghdad was not immediately known. Witnesses said it came after U.S troops broke in to search the building, which residents said housed a weapons repair shop.

The blast leveled the front part of the one-story building, in the Waziriya district, and set four Humvees outside on fire. Later Iraqis dragged one of the Humvees away, looted it, and set it ablaze again.

The condition of the American and the Iraqis was not immediately known, nor was the total number of casualties.

At least one wounded U.S. soldier was seen in footage from Associated Press Television News being taken away on a stretcher from the burning Humvees. Witnesses reported as many as 10 Americans being loaded into ambulances.

Several Iraqis were seen in APTN video being carried out of the rubble. A woman was weeping as she was carried out of the ruins over a man's shoulder. Another victim, a young man, appeared unconscious as Iraqis brought him out by his legs and arms. The total number of injured or killed was not known.

Hours later, dozens of teenagers were looting the burned Humvees. A fire engine was still extinguishing a fire rising from the rubble.

Some neighbors reported a perfume shop was housed in the building, but others said it once held a scrap metal workshop where weapons were repaired and used ammunition recycled.

A military spokesman said the blast destroyed a number of Humvees but had no details.



http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2004/04/26/ap/Headlines/d826f5f00.txt

Ellie

thedrifter
04-26-04, 07:18 AM
Marines duke it out in the desert for MCMAP training <br />
Submitted by: 1st Marine Division <br />
Story Identification Number: 200442423577 <br />
Story by Lance Cpl. Macario P. Mora Jr. and Sgt. Jose L. Garcia <br />
<br />
...

thedrifter
04-26-04, 09:18 AM
Eight insurgents killed, four Marines hurt in clashes Fallujah

FALLUJAH (AFP) - Eight insurgents were killed and at least four US marines were wounded during fierce fighting in the fraught Sunni Muslim city of Fallujah where an uneasy ceasefire had been in place for a week, the US-led coalition said.


A "significant" number of insurgents attacked marines at 11:30 am (0730 GMT), prompting hours of fighting in the northern district of the city, which has been a hotspot of resistance to the US-led occupation of the country.


"Initial reports were eight enemy killed and four marines wounded," Colonel John Coleman, chief of staff for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, told reporters.


Marines were fired upon from a mosque which was then targetted by US forces and the minaret destroyed, an embedded pool reporter with the marines told CNN. He said another six marines were injured by shrapnel but the reports could not be immediately confirmed.


"Unfortunately the opposition forces... took it upon themselves to occupy a mosque," said Coleman. "Instead of serving as a centre of religious life, it was employed as a bastion in the attack."


He said marines used small arms and a tank machine gun against the insurgents in the mosque during the battle in the northern district of Jolan.


Plumes of black smoke were shown rising from buildings in the city, where joint patrols between marines and Iraqi security forces were expected to start this week after an apparent easing of tensions.


Senior coalition military officials had previously been ramping up the pressure on militants holed up in the city, warning that "time was running out" to hand over heavy weapons under an agreement sealed a week ago and threatened a renewed offensive.


But the coalition said in a statement Monday that marines would join Iraqi police and the paramilitary Iraqi Civil Defence Corps (ICDC) to conduct joint patrols "in a deliberate step toward returning the streets of Fallujah back to Iraqi authority".


"This effort will allow Iraqi authorities to implement lawful order throughout the city while maintaining peace and stability for Fallujans," it said.


Earlier this month Fallujah was the scene of the worst fighting since the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq (news - web sites) last year with hundreds of Iraqis and scores of US troops killed.


The US marines launched their offensive against insurgents in Fallujah following the March 31 murder of four US civilian contractors.


http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=1514&e=8&u=/afp/20040426/wl_mideast_afp/iraq_us_fallujah_clashes


Ellie

cjwright90
04-26-04, 09:36 AM
I think the political correctness issue is my worst for this Iraq thing. I do not back senseless killing of innocent people. I do support peace through superior firepower. I do not want civilians to get hurt, but if one insurgent with a bomb big enough to kill 8-10 guys is hiding behind a civilian, is it not better to take out one verses him taking out 10?

cjwright90
04-26-04, 09:37 AM
I suppose my last post seems insenitive and I do not mean it to. I know it would be a hard decision for anyone to make that decision. The enemy does not play fair, but we do. It is tough for me to listen to.

thedrifter
04-26-04, 11:53 AM
Life heats up for combined anti-armor team
Submitted by: 1st Marine Division
Story Identification Number: 20044250748
Story by Cpl. Shawn C. Rhodes



CAMP MAHMUDIYAH, Iraq(April 11, 2004) -- Marines with 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment's Combined Anti-Armor Team knows that in combat, it's a lot of skill and a little bit of luck that makes success.

"We'd been at the same spot for four days. The call came over the radio for us to move, one of our companies needed out help, so we packed up and left," said Lance Cpl. Devon J. Inman, a translator from Nashville, Tenn.

The 27 year-old Marine said they couldn't have moved sooner.

"We'd been receiving mortar fire every day, but it was never real close to us," Inman explained. "As we left we saw mortar rounds come down right on top of where our vehicles had been."

With a quick stop at the forward operating base for supplies, the team went to help their comrades in need.

"As a CAAT team, our mission is to support the line companies. We can move quickly and bring a lot of firepower to the fight," said Gunnery Sgt. Barry R. Bartasavich, the platoon sergeant for CAAT Team Red. The 37-year-old Euboif, Pa. Marine added, "We're basically a 9-1-1 force for the battalion."

Fulfilling their role as an emergency response force, the vehicles raced to Ludahfiya, where one of the companies was reportedly receiving small arms fire. On the way to the scene, the Marines prepared mentally for what was sure to be a chaotic scene when they arrived.

"We were all pumped up, but when we got there everything was over," Inman said "The company had some detainees and we were ordered to block traffic coming into the city and search vehicles leaving for weapons."

Disappointed as the team was, they knew they were playing a critical role in the operation.

"Someone had to do it and we needed to make sure no enemies could get into the city to help their buddies," Inman said.

Still, the action in the area wasn't over. Marines could hear mortar rounds impacting in the distance and small arms fire flare up and die down. The surrounding palm tree groves made it difficult to determine where the firefight was, but the radio inside each humvee kept them updated.

The radio sputtered with transmissions from the various companies, reporting their situations. Some messages would be simple radio checks from units. Others would be quick and urgent, the voice speaking quickly, reporting the unit under fire. Other CAAT teams were sent to respond. Marines of CAAT Red were anxious, wanting to help their comrades in need.

"Your adrenaline gets pretty high out here, and the Marines love it," Bartasavich said. "They thrive on firing their weapons."

When Ludahfiya had been searched, the team was ordered to link up with surrounding units and head back to their base. The team lived in the field for days and was ready to get some much-needed rest, but was needed elsewhere.

"Just as we were on our way back, we got orders that the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps was under fire at the same checkpoint we'd left just that morning," Inman said. "I was looking forward to a shower and more than three hours of sleep at a time, but they needed us out there. As a translator, I was looking forward to speaking just English for a while."

Tension built among the Marines as they wove through the dark streets of Mahmudiya, on their way to another call.

Staff Sgt. Richard P. Lawson, a vehicle commander for the team, explained calls for help from the ICDC aren't uncommon. Sometimes situations Marines take for granted shake up the fledgling force.

The East Bridge Water, Mass. Marine added, "When we arrived, it was just what I thought - a vehicle had attacked them a while ago and they wanted Marines there to help in case it happened again."

Setting their vehicles up on both sides of the road, the CAAT team settled in for another night at the checkpoint.

"It's pretty uncomfortable sleeping in your flak jacket and helmet, but that's what we have to do in case we get mortared again," Inman said. "If you're as tired as we were, it doesn't really matter, though."

Marines spent the night peering through night-vision goggles, scanning the area in front of their guns.

"We've had vehicles drive through here and shoot at us, so we have to be ready," Bartasavich said. "One of our responsibilities here is to make sure no one gets through to attack the base. So it isn't just our Marines we're protecting, but everyone back there too."

The night passed uneventfully for the Marines. The occasional mortar blast in the distance and the constant barking from the dogs in the neighborhood was all they heard. Packing up in the morning, they searched the surrounding fields to find mortar impacts.

"We found a few holes in the ground that could have been the marks a mortar base plate leaves when it's used," Inman said.

They discovered little else when they spoke to a local farmer who could only describe what he heard.

Translating for his unit, Inman said the man couldn't see anything from his farm due to a wall surrounding it, but he did hear the mortars explode the last few nights.

The Marines returned to their outposts, tired, haggard and still facing a list of chores before they'd finally rest.

"We always clean and repair our vehicles and gear first," Inman said. "After that, we take care of ourselves."

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/image1.nsf/Lookup/20044250126/$file/CAAT1lr.jpg

Lance Cpl. Devon J. Inman, 27, from Nashville, Tenn., listens as a local Iraqi describes where he heard mortars fire from recently. The translator aids his combined arms action team by speaking with Iraqis to gather intelligence on threats to the coalition forces.
(USMC photo by Cpl. Shawn C. Rhodes) Photo by: Cpl. Chawn C. Rhodes

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/E59CB00889FDDB1185256E810016B02E?opendocument

Ellie

thedrifter
04-26-04, 05:18 PM
U.S. to patrol Fallujah


By Denis D. Gray
ASSOCIATED PRESS


FALLUJAH, Iraq U.S. troops will begin patrols with Iraqi security forces in Fallujah, the military said yesterday, as the United States backed away from threatening an all-out assault that could deepen anti-American sentiment.
The patrols are to begin as early as tomorrow, and Fallujah officials will announce that anyone seen carrying a weapon in the city will be considered hostile, the military said.

Meanwhile, a U.S. general said troops will move into a base on the edge of the holy city of Najaf that Spanish troops will abandon on withdrawing from Iraq in the coming weeks.
But the Americans will avoid holy sites an effort to prevent outraging Iraq's Shi'ite majority, which has its most sacred shrine in the city and opposes any U.S. foray near such structures.
Brig. Gen. Mark Hertling said the troops aimed to "counter the forces" of radical Shi'ite cleric Sheik Muqtada al-Sadr. Coalition spokesman Dan Senor said weapons were being stockpiled in mosques and schools in Najaf. The practice must stop, he added.
The measures in Fallujah and Najaf were announced a day after President Bush held a teleconference with senior national security and military advisers to discuss the situation in Fallujah and the rest of Iraq.
The moves appeared aimed at bringing a degree of control over the cities without reigniting the intense violence that began when U.S. authorities moved on the two fronts simultaneously at the start of the month.
The United Nations' envoy to Iraq warned yesterday that ordering U.S. troops into the two rebellious cities could lead to disaster.
"Sending the tanks hauling into a place like this is not the right thing to do, and I think the Americans know that extremely well now," said Lakhdar Brahimi, referring to Najaf.
In an interview taped in Paris and broadcast yesterday on ABC's "This Week," Mr. Brahimi also urged the Bush administration to "tread carefully" in Fallujah.
"When you surround a city, you bomb the city, when people cannot go to hospital, what name do you have for that?" he asked.
"And you, if you have enemies there, this is exactly what they want you to do, to alienate more people so that more people support them rather than you."
The deal to bring patrols into Fallujah means extending a cease-fire for at least two days, U.S. officials said. Military action in Fallujah remains an option, Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt said, but the warning was toned down sharply from those in the past week.
Fighting this month has killed up to 1,200 Iraqis and 111 U.S. troops, nearly as many as the 115 Americans killed during the major-combat phase that toppled Saddam Hussein a year ago.
A U.S. soldier was killed yesterday when a roadside bomb hit his patrol in eastern Baghdad. A U.S. Coast Guardsman died of wounds suffered the night before in a suicide boat attack on oil facilities that killed two Navy sailors.
Iraq's main outlet for oil exports, the Al-Basra terminal, was damaged and won't be able to resume loading tankers until today at the earliest, said Oil Minister Ibrahim Bahr al-Ulloum. The closure cost the country about 1 million barrels in exports the first day.
Mortar attacks in the northern city of Mosul killed two Iraqis outside a hotel, and an explosion outside a hospital killed two Iraqis and wounded 10, the U.S. military said.
As U.S. officials toned down recent warnings, they also spoke of progress in Fallujah. "At this point, it would not seem to be constructive for either side to be laying down ultimatums," Gen. Kimmitt said.
Still, he said, no weapons were handed over in the past few days not even the kind of rusted, broken or otherwise useless ones that were surrendered last week. U.S. officials have been complaining for days that guerrillas were not abiding by a call to disarm that had been issued under the agreement reached with American negotiators.
Gen. Kimmitt also said insurgents had been shooting at U.S. troops in the past 24 hours. A helicopter gunship fired on a house in Fallujah where guerrillas had been seen preparing a mortar on Friday. Twenty-five fighters were killed.
The patrols are "the first step to returning the city to a sense of stability," Gen. Kimmitt said.


http://images.washtimes.com/photos/web/20040422-110652-4798.jpg

Marine Capt. Roy 'Woody' Moore, 30, with Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, relays insurgent positions to cobra helicopters during airstrikes in northwest Fallujah, Iraq, on Wednesday.

http://www.washtimes.com/world/20040426-011710-7138r.htm


Ellie