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6 Killed In Battle Between US And… Iraqi Police

From Associated Press:


U.S. troops battle Iraqi police

By LEE KEATH, Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD – U.S. troops battled Iraqi police suspected of links to Iranian-backed Shiite militiamen, killing six in a rare firefight between American soldiers and their Iraqi partners. Friday’s clash underscored the deep infiltration of militants in the country’s security forces…

In addition to the six police officers, seven gunmen were also killed in Friday’s clash in eastern Baghdad, sparked when U.S. troops arrested a police lieutenant, the American military said in a statement. It said the lieutenant was believed to be helping Iran organize Shiite militants and leading a cell involved in bomb and mortar attacks on U.S. and Iraqi troops

The U.S. military has accused Iran of arming Shiite extremists drawn from the ranks of militias and organizing them into a network to carry out attacks on the troops. Friday’s statement, however, was the first time the military has spoken of the Iranian efforts extending into the Iraqi police. It was unclear whether the lieutenant was a militiaman who joined the police or a policeman who later joined the militia.

American forces have arrested police in the past for Shiite militia links — but rarely have the Americans and the uniformed police fallen into an open street battle, particularly one as fierce as Friday’s.

It began before dawn when U.S. troops launched a raid and captured the lieutenant, according to a military statement. The troops quickly came under heavy fire from multiple directions, including nearby rooftops and a church. “Heavy and accurate” fire was also coming from a nearby police checkpoint.

As the Americans fought back, U.S. warplanes struck in front of the police position, without hitting it directly, “to prevent further escalation” of the battle. There were no casualties among the U.S. troops, but seven gunmen and six of the policemen firing on the Americans were killed, the statement said…

The captured lieutenant was a “high-ranking” leader of a cell suspected of helping coordinate Iranian support for Shiite extremists, the military said. He was also believed to be linked to the Quds Force, a branch of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards that the U.S. military says it funneling help to the networks, a charge Tehran denies

If this is true (and one is right to be suspicious since it is from the AP) it certainly does underscore the problems the Iraqi government faces.

After all, we were the ones pushing the “reconciliation” plans, which included opening up the police and other positions to the opposition parties.

As the Americans fought back, U.S. warplanes struck in front of the police position, without hitting it directly, “to prevent further escalation” of the battle.

And of course this is a major part of the problem — that our troops have to fight with one hand tied behind their backs.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, July 13th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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