The bottom line is clear: Our vital interests in Afghanistan are limited and military victory is not the key to achieving them. On the contrary, waging a lengthy counterinsurgency war in Afghanistan may well do more to aid Taliban recruiting than to dismantle the group, help spread conflict further into Pakistan, unify radical groups that might otherwise be quarreling amongst themselves, threaten the long-term health of the U.S. economy, and prevent the U.S. government from turning its full attention to other pressing problems. -- Afghanistan Study Group

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

War News for Wednesday, March 26, 2008

MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of a Multi-National Division - Baghdad soldier in a hostile fire attack in an undisclosed location on Tuesday, March 25th. No other details were released. The Baltimore Sun reports that the soldiers were attacked with mortar fire in a western neighborhood of Baghdad according to a military spokesman.

The British MoD is reporting the death of a British soldier in a hostile gunfire attack in Iraq on Wednesday, March 26th. No other details were released.

The Herald Tribune is reporting the death of an American soldier in a small-arms fire attack in a northwestern neighborhood of Baghdad on Wednesday, March 26th according the the military.


Security incidents:

Baghdad:
#1: In addition, rockets and mortar shells rained down on U.S. troops around Baghdad, killing one American soldier, a U.S. military spokesman said. A dozen attacks targeted four U.S. bases and the International Zone, the fortified enclave in the heart of Baghdad that houses American and Iraqi government offices, Lt. Col. Steven Stover said.

#2: The fighting has killed 18 others in Baghdad and left scores injured. Officials say the dead in Basra include Iraqi troops, police, civilians and militiamen.

#3: In a further incident Wednesday, three U.S. government officials were seriously injured as militants targeted the International Zone in Baghdad, a U.S. Embassy spokeswoman said.

More mortars were fired at the Green Zone on Wednesday, Iraqi officials said, adding that one hit a residential building outside the heavily fortified complex killing one person and wounding four.

Around 5:30 a.m. three mortar shells hit the green zone. No reports about casualties.

Around 9:15 a.m. three mortar shells hit the green zone.

Around 1:00 p.m. mortar shells hit the green zone in downtown Baghdad. No reports about Casualties.

Around 3:00 p.m. mortar shells hit the green zone. No casualties reported.

#4: A mortar or rocket round that apparently fell short also struck a minibus in the mainly Shiite district of Karradah, killing at least two passengers and wounding seven others, according to police and hospital officials.

Two were killed and seven wounded when two rounds hit the central Al-Karada neighbourhood, the officials said.

#5: US military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Steven Stover said two members of the Iraqi security forces were killed in an attack on a checkpoint in the suburb (Sadr City) late on Tuesday.

#6: Renewed fighting broke out around 1:00 am (2200 GMT Tuesday) in Sadr City, Baghdad bastion of the cleric's Mahdi Army militia, security officials said. Qassim al-Sueidi, head of the local Imam Ali hospital, said four people were killed and 24 wounded in the fighting in the impoverished northeast Baghdad neighbourhood of two million people.

#7: Sporadic clashes with Iraqi and US troops continued during the day (in Sadr City), witnesses said.

A New York Times photographer who was able to get through the cordon found more layers of checkpoints, each one run by about two dozen heavily armed Mahdi Army fighters clad in tracksuits and T-shirts. Tires burned in the city center, gunfire echoed against shuttered stores, and teams of fighters in pickup trucks moved about brandishing machine guns, sniper rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers.

#8: Three people were killed and 12 wounded when three mortar rounds slammed into the Al-Risala neighbourhood of south-west Baghdad.

#9: Even before the crackdown on militias began on Tuesday, Pentagon statistics on the frequency of militia and insurgent attacks suggested that after major security gains last fall, the conflict had drifted into something of a stalemate. Over all, violence has remained fairly steady over the past several months, but the streets have become tense and much more dangerous again after a period of calm.

#10: At a checkpoint downtown, a policeman’s radio crackled with the news of the sniper shooting of a police officer in a nearby neighborhood.

#11: Five people were injured when members of Mahdi army opened fire targeting civilians in al Kifah neighborhood in downtown Baghdad around 8:30 a.m.

#12: Six people were inured when members of Mahdi army opened fire targeting civilians in Sadoun Street in downtown Baghdad around 9:00 a.m.

#13: A fourth shell hit one of the buildings in Salhiyah street near the green zone. One civilians was killed and 6 others wounded.

#14: Two civilians were wounded in an IED explosion in al Fallah intersection in Sadr city in East Baghdad around 11:00 a.m.

#15: Four civilians were inured in clashes between insurgents and the Iraqi national police in Shaab neighborhood in north Baghdad around 1:30 p.m.

#16: Around 2:00 p.m. clashes broke out between the Iraqi army and members of Mahdi army in Kadhemiyah neighborhood in North Baghdad. No casualties were reported.

#17: Four civilians were wounded when a mortar shell hit Beirut intersection in east Baghdad around 3:00 p.m.

#18: Three civilians were wounded in an IED explosion in Darwish intersection in Saidiyah neighborhood in South Baghdad around 3:00 p.m.

#19: The U.S. military says an American soldier has been killed by small-arms fire in Baghdad.
The military says the Multi-National Division — Baghdad soldier was taken to a hospital after being shot in a northwestern area of the capital but succumbed to the wounds.

#20: At least one person was killed and four more were wounded on Wednesday as militants of the Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's militia clashed with police forces in eastern Baghdad, a source from Iraqi Interior Ministry said. "Clashes erupted, this afternoon, between police forces and gunmen from Mahdi army near Sabah al-Khayat square in al-Shaab neighborhood," the source told Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq.

#21: the same source said that a mortar round landed, this afternoon, in Palestine Street, eastern Baghdad, wounding four civilians.

#22: Around 5:30 p.m. a mortar shell hit Kadhemiyah neighborhood in north Baghdad. No Casualties reported.

#23: An IED exploded targeting a US convoy in Abo Desheer neighborhood south of Baghdad on Wednesday afternoon. No casualties reported.

#24: Police found three unidentified bodies in the following neighborhood (1 body in Bonok, 1 body in Ur and 1 body in Bayaa.


Jisr Diyala:
#1: Clashes broke out between the US army and Mahdi army militia in jisr Diyala area south of Baghdad. No news about casualties reported.


Kut:
#1: Police said Sadr fighters had seized control of seven districts in the southern town of Kut. A Reuters witness heard heavy clashes near a government building in the town centre.

#2: Two people was killed and 12 wounded in clashes between Mehdi Army members and Iraqi security forces in Kut, 175 km (105 miles) southeast of Baghdad, police said. Police said the militia had taken control of seven neighbourhoods.

Clashes also broke out for a second day Wednesday in the city of Kut, 175 kilometres (110 miles) southeast of Baghdad, where Iraqi troops moved in numbers to areas controlled by the Madhi Army, an AFP correspondent said. Police said a soldier and a woman were killed in Wednesday's clashes.

#3: Police said at least 10 people, including a baby girl, were killed and 31 wounded in clashes in Kut, 170 km (105 miles) south of Baghdad.

#4: Unknown gunmen on Wednesday set ablaze the house of a journalist working for the government-funded Iraqi Media Network in Wassit province, 180 km southeast of Baghdad, a police source said. "Unknown gunmen attacked and set ablaze the house of Bashir Taaban, a journalist working for the Iraqi Media Network in al-Dhubbat neighborhood, northern Kut," the source, who requested anonymity, told Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq.

#5: Meanwhile, the same source said that mortars fell on two buildings in central Kut, inflicting huge damage to them.

#6: At least three civilians were killed and five others wounded, all members of the same family, on Wednesday when a Katyusha rocket fell on their home in Kut city, 180 km southeast of Baghdad, a police source said. The attack occurred in Dour al-Shaoun quarter and the wounded "were in critical condition," the source, who declined to have his name mentioned, told Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq


Hilla:
#1: There were also serious clashes in the southern cities of Kut and Hilla.

Clashes resumed between Mehdi army and Iraqi security forces in three districts of Hilla, 100 km (62 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

#2: Many people were killed and wounded by a U.S. air strike called in support of Iraqi forces in the town of Hilla south of Baghdad, Iraqi security sources said. One police source said at least 11 people were killed and 18 wounded in the strike, launched after Iraqi security forces called for support following street battles with Shi'ite militia members in the city's Thawra neighborhood. Another police source said 29 people were killed and 39 were wounded.
Two other security sources said the combined total of dead and wounded was in the dozens, although they were unable to give precise casualty figures. All of the sources spoke under condition they not be named.

At least 60 people were killed and wounded when the MNF helicopters bombed the neighborhoods of al Askari and Nadir in Babil province south of Baghdad, the spokesman the Iraqi police in Babil province Muthanna Ahmed said. The MNF couldn’t immediately confirm the strike.


Diwaniya:
#1: Two gunmen were killed and three others were arrested in armed confrontations between security forces and gunmen at the center of Diwaniya city on Tuesday, commander of al-Baqr Emergency Brigade said on Wednesday. "Clashes took place on Tuesday afternoon, between security forces and gunmen, on streets 30 and 60 in the center of Diwaniya city," Colonel Ghasan Mohammed told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq.

#2: One Iraqi soldier was killed in eastern Diwaniya, 180 km (112 miles) south of Baghdad, in clashes between Iraqi security forces and Mehdi Army militants, according to an army source.


Amarra:
#1: Two Iraqi soldiers were killed late Tuesday in armed confrontations between army forces and unknown gunmen, a security source said on Wednesday. “Armed clashes broke out between Iraqi army troops and unidentified armed men near the intersection of Jisr al-Joumhouriya in central Amara, during which two soldiers were killed and three Hummers were destroyed,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq


Najaf:
#1: A ceasefire ordered by Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr remains in effect despite a crackdown on his followers in the southern city of Basra by government forces, a top aide said on Wednesday. "The freeze that Sadr has ordered is still ongoing," one of Sadr's senior aides, Luwaa Sumaisem, told Reuters in the Shi'ite holy city of Najaf.

#2: A mortar shell hit al Mujtaba police station in downtown Najaf city south of Baghdad around 8:15 p.m. causing casualties among the staff of the police station, police said. The police of Najaf announced a curfew in the city until further notice.

#3: Two mortar shells hit an agricultural area south of Najaf city around 8:00 p.m. no reports about casualties.

#4: A mortar shell hit the airport of Najaf around 8:00 p.m. no casualties reported.

Basra:
#1: Iraq's prime minister Wednesday gave Shiite militants battling security forces in Basra a 72-hour deadline to surrender

#2: In addition, at least 30 Iraqi security force members were kidnapped by militia fighters in Basra, he said.

#3: Militiamen used roadside bombs to bring down part of a bridge in northern Basra on Tuesday, witnesses and police reported, hindering the movement of security forces.

#4: the death toll from two days of fighting that threatens to undo efforts to stabilize Iraq neared 50. The fighting has killed 40 to 50 people in Basra. and left scores injured. Officials say the dead in Basra include Iraqi troops, police, civilians and militiamen.

Medical source in Basra province south of Baghdad said that 33 people were killed and 150 others were wounded in the clashes that took place between the Iraqi security forces and Mahdi army in different neighborhoods of the province.

#5: Heavy gun battles continue to rage in five districts after a brief lull.

Fighting also broke after dawn between Mahdi Army fighters and Iraqi troops in Basra. Battles were raging in the Mahdi Army strongholds of Al-Gaazaiza, Al-Garma, Khmasamene, Al-Hayania and Al-Maqal neighbourhoods of Basra, witnesses said.

Basra police said heavy gunbattles restarted early Wednesday in five districts of Basra after a brief lull. Mortars or rocket attacks regularly struck Iraqi security checkpoints and bases.

#6: Police said 218 militiamen had been detained since the launch of the security sweep, which has been codenamed Saulat al-Fursan (Charge of the Knights).

#7: They said however there were fewer security force personnel on the streets than on Tuesday, when police and troops deployed in vast numbers across Basra.

#8: Another official in the Basra office, speaking on condition of anonymity, warned that "The Sadr current (or movement) is threatening to set fire to the oil wells in Basra if the Iraqi military continues its security plan." Al-Sadr's representatives walked out of parliament yesterday to protest the crackdown in Basra.

Oil production and exports from Iraq's southern oilfields could be disrupted in three days if workers cannot reach their offices due to fighting in Basra, a Southern Oil Company official told Reuters on Wednesday. If the military operations continue for three more days, the oil workers will not be able to continue their work and this is going to definitely affect oil production and exports," said the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity. Oil workers in the Basra province work 24-hour shifts and have not been replaced since Tuesday, the oil company official said. "The workers are now going through a very hard time with shortages of food, and are tired from the heat because they are not being replaced," he said.

#9: Several mortar rounds struck a police compound in Basra where prisoners were being held. Seven police and three prisoners were wounded.

#10: It is with deep regret that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the death of a British soldier in Iraq today, 26 March 2008. The soldier died as a result of gunshot wounds sustained during a firefight in the early hours of this morning.

#11: Four policemen were killed when their vehicle was targeted with RBG7 rocket near Basra police directorate on Wednesday afternoon.

#12: Mortar shells hit Basra police directorate in downtown Basra city. No casualties were reported, three police vehicles were damaged.


Tikrit:
#1: At least five people were killed and 11 injured Tuesday when US forces attacked the Iraqi city of Tikrit, some 180 kilometres north of Baghdad, Iraqi police said Wednesday. US military forces attacked the houses of Tikrit's Qadesiya district late Tuesday, while helicopters hovered over the city until the early hours of Wednesday. Hassan Ahmed, an Iraqi police official, told Deutsche Presse- Agentur dpa that US airstrikes hit a house in the city, killing four people, including a 10-year-old girl, and injuring another 11 Iraqis. The wounded included five women and five children. US forces detained one civilian during the attack.

Five Iraqi civilians including a judge were killed by a U.S. airstrike in the northern town of Tikrit on Wednesday, Iraqi police said. In a statement, US forces acknowledged that the civilians had been killed during a battle with alleged Al Qaida Sunni militants, which started after the airstrikes from fixed-wing aircraft. Iraqi police said five civilians were killed and 10 wounded in the air strike. The dead included Munaf Mehdi, a judge in the town.

#3: A source in Tikrit hospital said that a patrol from the 1st battalion the 14 brigade brought the body of Mohammed Shakir Mahmoud who died after being tortured by aa US sponsored militia near al Mamlaha village east of Samara on Wednesday morning.

#4: At least nine people, including seven anti-Qaeda (Sahwa) fighters were wounded on Wednesday as a suicide bomber detonated a car rigged with explosives at a checkpoint near Tikrit, a police source said. The explosion occurred "on the main road leading to Mosul near al-Awjah village."


Tuz Khurmatu:
#1: A source in the Iraqi police in Tuz Khurmatu said that the Syrian trucks drivers who were kidnapped in 4-3-2008 were released. The drivers (Abdul salam Mohammed Na’os, Bakir Hasan Faqosh, Adil Ramo Mahmoud, Abdul Kareem Ramo Mohammed and Ghassan Mohammed”)were kidnapped on Baghdad- Kirkuk Street.



Afghanistan:
#1: One Afghan policeman was killed and two others wounded when their vehicle hit a mine planted by Taliban insurgents in southern Afghan province of Helmand on Wednesday, said an official. Mohammad Hussein Andiwal, the provincial police chief told Xinhua that accident occurred at around 5 a.m.(GMT0030) when a group of police were patrolling in Gereshk district.

#2: Eight Afghan civilians were killed and 17 others wounded when a bomb-filled car exploded near a crowded bazaar in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday, police said. The explosion in Gereshk district was similar to bombings carried out by Taliban insurgents in their campaign against the Kabul government and security forces, but there was no immediate claim of responsibility.


Casualty Reports:

Private Josh Lee, 20, is lucky to be alive following the 'friendly' attack in Helmand Province last summer. Josh, who lives in Stonely, sustained burns to his face and upper body and was evacuated by helicopter to a medical facility at Camp Bastion for treatment before being flown to a specialist burns unit in Birmingham. The former Kimbolton School pupil had only been in Afghanistan for five-and-a-half months when he was injured in August 07. Josh spent four-and-a-half weeks undergoing surgery to rebuild the left side of his face and repair his upper body.

Sgt. Adam Kelley, 22, was just inches from a roadside bomb in Iraq when it exploded. He's hurt, but alive. Last Thursday, a roadside bomb exploded next to Adam's armored truck. The force knocked him out, but aside from a concussion, he's okay. He has headaches and some memory loss, but is expected to be okay. His unit, the 116th Security Force, a national guard unit out of Camp Williams is expected home sometime next month.

Staff Sgt. James "Ross" Graydon lost his arm in Iraq. Army officials say Graydon was performing route clearance maneuvers in Sadr City in July 2006 when an improvised explosive device detonated next to his vehicle. The driver of the vehicle was killed, and three others were wounded. Graydon lost his arm in the explosion. Graydon is assigned to the 4th Brigade Combat Team of the 101st Airborne Division based at the post on the Tennessee-Kentucky border.

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