Sunday, May 08, 2005

Iraq - over 30 dead in weekend violence

Iraq, Saturday, and seven US soldiers have died in three incidents. In Samarra one soldier was killed and another injured when their patrol came under attack. In Khaldiyah, west of Baghdad, two further troops died in an explosion during ‘combat operations’. And in Hadithah, 260km north-west of Baghdad, three US soldiers were killed in a suicide bomb attack. Saturday also saw more than 22 dead in a series of explosions in central Baghdad. U.S. military sources said the two suicide attackers crashed their explosives-packed cars into a three-vehicle convoy in Tahrir Square, known for its shops and a large statue of ‘Iraqi soldiers breaking through chains to freedom’. Over 300 civilians Iraqi armed forces, police and US soldiers have been killed in the last 10 days alone.
But the fight to put down the increasing insurgency has brought some results. An aide to insurgent leader Abu Musab Al Zarqawi has been captured by Iraqi security forces according to US military sources, CNN report today. In a statement issued Saturday, the U.S. command said an April 26 raid ‘netted a suspect’ described by the U.S. military as a ‘key associate of Iraq's most wanted militant, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’. The captured man, Ghassan Muhammad Amin Husayn al-Rawi is said to have helped al-Zarqawi's al-Qaida in Iraq group, arrange meetings and move foreign insurgents into the country. And Iraqi military sources reported at least 25 insurgents dead and several ‘key militants’ captured, after fighting near the Iraqi-Syrian border.
Meanwhile George W Bush has been continuing his ‘march to freedom’ as he visits Russia. He may encounter a rather cold reception from President Putin following his strong comments in Latvia on Saturday. In a speech he made in the Latvian capital Riga, Bush called the Cold War division of Europe after 1945 one of the "greatest wrongs of history" and referred to the "occupation and communist oppression" of the Baltic states.

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