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Iraqi Troops, Tanks Push Deep Into ‘Sadr City’

From a disquieted Associated Press:

Iraqi troops enter Baghdad’s Shiite stronghold

By QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA, Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD – Thousands of Iraqi troops moved unchallenged into Baghdad’s Sadr City Tuesday to seize the Shiite militia stronghold, in the largest attempt yet by the government to impose control, an Iraqi military spokesman said.

The large Iraqi force backed by tanks entered the sprawling district before dawn, with troops taking up positions on street corners and deploying on rooftops as Iraqi Humvees patrolled the streets, residents said…

Military spokesman Brig. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi said the troops were deploying in the district as part of a fragile truce reached last week between al-Sadr and the government. So far, there has been no violence in the deployment, codenamed “Operation Peace,” he said.

“The government chose the approach of preventing bloodshed, and entered the city to coordinate with the representatives of the Sadr movement, to achieve stability and security, impose the rule of law and offer service,” he told reporters in Baghdad.

Al-Moussawi said three brigades with about 10,000 troops were involved in the deployment. He and the U.S. military said American troops were participating, though al-Moussawi said U.S. forces were nearby in case their support was needed…

Iraqi soldiers also found a large weapons cache on the grounds of the Shaaroofi mosque Monday in the Shaab district, a Shiite militia stronghold that is adjacent to Sadr City, according to a U.S. military statement.

The find included eight armor-piercing roadside bombs known as explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs, seven rocket-propelled grenades as well as other munitions and documents detailing kidnappings and murders, the military said.

The military said U.S. soldiers did not deploy around the mosque to avoid offending Islamic sensibilities

Late Monday, gunmen suspected of being al-Qaida fighters ambushed a minibus carrying Iraqi police recruits near the Syrian border west of Mosul, killing all 11 passengers, Iraqi officials said — the first deadly attack since the Mosul sweep began.

The attack, one of the bloodiest in months against police, left the minibus riddled with bullets in the desert west of Mosul near the town of Baaj, 20 miles from the Syrian border, according to a provincial official in Baaj and a Mosul police officer. Some al-Qaida fighters are believed to have fled the city toward neighboring Syria.

The unarmed policemen, most from Baaj, were returning from their recruitment camp, they said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

This is a truly momentous occasion, albeit years overdue. And it is the ultimate fruit of the “surge.”

Naturally, the media will do their best to ignore it. It is somewhat amazing that the Associated Press reported on it at all.

Iraqi soldiers also found a large weapons cache on the grounds of the Shaaroofi mosque Monday in the Shaab district, a Shiite militia stronghold that is adjacent to Sadr City…

The find included eight armor-piercing roadside bombs known as explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs, seven rocket-propelled grenades as well as other munitions and documents detailing kidnappings and murders, the military said.

The military said U.S. soldiers did not deploy around the mosque to avoid offending Islamic sensibilities.

What a surreal joke.

This, in a nutshell, has been the problem all along.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, May 20th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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