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Iraq Violence Lowest Since Gold Mosque Hit

From a deeply saddened Reuters:

U.S. soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 17th Field Artillery Regiment pray before a mission at the U.S. Loyalty camp, southeast of Baghdad, September 19, 2007.

Iraq violence lowest since ’06 mosque attack: U.S.

By Paul Tait

Violence in Iraq has fallen to its lowest level since before a 2006 mosque attack which unleashed the deadliest phase of the Iraq war, the deputy commander of U.S. forces in Iraq said on Thursday.

Lieutenant-General Raymond Odierno said attacks in Baghdad had also fallen by half since January, just before Washington began pouring 30,000 extra troops into Iraq to try to drag the nation back from the brink of sectarian civil war.

“There are still way too many civilian casualties inside of Baghdad and Iraq,” Odierno said, after telling a news conference the number of sectarian killings in the capital had fallen from an average of about 32 a day to 12 a day this year.

U.S. forces launched a crackdown in Baghdad in February that spread to other provinces, targeting Sunni Islamist al Qaeda and other Sunni Arab insurgents as well as Shi’ite militias.

“Al Qaeda in Iraq is increasingly being pushed out of Baghdad and the surrounding areas. They are now seeking refuge elsewhere in the country and even fleeing Iraq,” Odierno said.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki this month said his government had averted civil war and that levels of violence in Baghdad and surrounding areas had fallen 75 percent this year.

Al Qaeda, however, has vowed to step up attacks during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan…

Odierno said U.S. and Iraqi forces had been keeping al Qaeda and other militant groups “off balance” by targeting their leadership as they push out of large bases into smaller combat outposts and joint command centers.

He said 60 percent more weapons caches had been discovered in the first nine months of 2007 than in all of 2006, leading to a decrease in attacks by improvised explosive devices… 

Of course this good news will be on the front page above the fold in every newspaper across the country.

(Just kidding, of course.)

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, September 20th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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