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Iraqi Insurgency Continues To Grow - U.S. Commanders Call It A War

Yesterday F-16 jets again bombed targets in Samarra, a town in the troubled Sunni region north of Baghdad. However, there is little sign that the high-profile operations are hampering the growing insurgency. The attackers appear undaunted, and continue to overcome the tight security that the US military has tried to install across the country.

Military commanders now openly describe the situation as a "war" and say that they believe attacks will continue to worsen for several weeks.

Following yesterday's DHL Airbus attack, all civilian flights out of Baghdad airport have been cancelled and the prospect of scheduled passenger flights starting up - once pencilled in for the middle of next summer - now appears even more remote. Thousands of Iraqi army missiles powerful enough to bring down commercial airliners are still unaccounted for.
Crowd beats dead US troops

Brutal attack in northern Iraq as resistance grows

Rory McCarthy in Baghdad
Monday November 24, 2003
The Guardian

Two American soldiers were shot dead and their bodies beaten with concrete blocks by a crowd yesterday in one of the most brutal attacks on the US military in Iraq.

The unusually bloody attack happened at midday in the northern town of Mosul, an area with a mixed Arab and Kurdish population that was largely peaceful in the first months of the war.

A third US soldier was killed and two others were injured by a roadside bomb in Baquba, 40 miles north of Baghdad. Further west, in the troubled town of Falluja, six Iraqis were killed when a roadside bomb detonated near a passing American military convoy.

The two soldiers killed in Mosul, from the 101st Airborne Division, were sitting in a queue of traffic in their white, four-wheel-drive civilian car when they were attacked. Witnesses described seeing the gunmen shoot the soldiers before a crowd dragged their bodies out, beat them and stole their equipment.

"People were taking things from the car. I looked inside and saw two soldiers with blood all over them," said an Iraqi fireman who ran to the scene after hearing gunshots. Large pools of blood lay around the men's bodies in the middle of the road.

A spokesman for the 101st Airborne Division said that the soldiers had been travelling between two military bases in the city.

After months of peace in Mosul, the growing guerrilla resistance movement has begun attacking troops there more frequently.

Last summer, an Iraqi informer led US commanders to a house where Saddam Hussein's two feared sons, Qusay and Uday, were hiding. Both were killed in the ensuing gun battle.

Then, earlier this month, 17 American soldiers died when two Black Hawk helicopters crashed into the town after one was hit by a rocket fired from the ground. Two Iraqis were killed in Mosul on Saturday when a bomb placed in a cart of oranges exploded near a passing military convoy.

Over the past three weeks the military has tried to take on the resistance with a series of offensive operations across Iraq, involving heavy bombing raids and large numbers of arrests.

Yesterday F-16 jets again bombed targets in Samarra, a town in the troubled Sunni region north of Baghdad.

However, there is little sign that the high-profile operations are hampering the growing insurgency. The attackers appear undaunted, and continue to overcome the tight security that the US military has tried to install across the country.

Military commanders now openly describe the situation as a "war" and say that they believe attacks will continue to worsen for several weeks.

Increasingly, the attacks are aimed at what American commanders call "softer" targets, including Iraqis working for the new government and foreign civilians.

On Saturday 17 Iraqi policemen died when car bombs exploded outside two police stations in Baquba and in the nearby town of Khan Bani Saad.

Later in the day, a DHL plane was hit by a surface-to-air missile as it flew into Baghdad airport. Although the aircraft's left wing was badly damaged, the pilot managed to land safely.

All civilian flights out of the airport have been cancelled and the prospect of scheduled passenger flights starting up - once pencilled in for the middle of next summer - now appears even more remote. Thousands of Iraqi army missiles powerful enough to bring down commercial airliners are still unaccounted for.

Three contractors working for the American firm Kellogg, Brown and Root, were hurt in the northern town of Kirkuk on Saturday when a bomb exploded at the offices of the North Oil Company.

Several serious security alerts have been issued for the coming days for fear of attacks during the festival of Eid, which marks the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

At the same time, the civilian administration in the Iraqi capital is still trying to restore some form of normality to the country.

Yesterday an Iraqi-American woman, Rend Rahim Francke, who has worked as a lobbyist in the US, was appointed Iraq's new ambassador to Washington. She represents the first diplomatic contacts between the two countries for 13 years.

homepage: homepage: http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1091908,00.html
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