Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Iraq - Death toll mounts as insurgency continues

Unrelenting, unpredictable and seemingly unstoppable, the insurgency in Iraq continues. Tal Afar, a city north of Baghdad, which has seen military operations in recent weeks, and described to be clear of insurgents by the US military, was today the target of the latest suicide attack. A female suicide bomber killed 5 people and injured at least 20 others who were queuing at an army recruitment centre [CNN]. The bombings come almost daily in Iraq. On Sunday a suicide bomber on a bicycle blew himself up in Hillah, south of Baghdad, killing and wounding several civilians. On Tuesday the bodies of 22 men were found in Jassan a province near the Iranian border. Some had been tortured according to reports and they had all been shot in the head. At least 12 were identified as being Iraqi police. Insurgents are reported to be engaging US forces in the western Anbar province near Haqlaniya. No US losses have been reported, but officials say that at least 5 insurgents had been killed during intensive battles. And the US claimed another success Tuesday when they announced that they had killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s number 2, Abu Azzam. He is said to have been shot during a raid in Baghdad. But a statement by al Qaeda in Iraq denied he was the No.2 and could not confirm his death [BBC]. Several attacks around the country by insurgents on Tuesday left scores dead and injured. Ten died and 26 were injured in Baquba in a suicide attack on a police recruitment office. Gunfire was reported near Abu Ghraib prison killing 2 and wounding 8. And a car bomb killed 5 in central Baghdad. And the situation in Afghanistan is far from stable. US forces are continually under fire in Afghanistan and on Sunday a Chinook CH-47 crashed during “supporting operations”. The US military gave few other details other than it went down near Kabul. Five US servicemen were killed when the helicopter crashed at 08:00 local time [BBC]. At least 12 helicopters have been lost in Afghanistan since Operation Enduring Freedom was launched in 2001.
[13:03 GMT 28/09/2005]

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