- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 23, 2005

BAGHDAD — Shopkeepers and residents on one of Baghdad’s main streets pulled out their own guns yesterday and killed three hooded terrorists who were shooting at passers-by, giving a rare victory to civilians increasingly frustrated by the violence bleeding Iraq.

The clash in the capital’s southern Doura neighborhood erupted when terrorists in three cars sprayed bullets at shoppers. Three persons — a man, a woman and a child — were wounded.

The motive was not clear, but there have been previous attacks in the ethnically mixed neighborhood. Earlier in the day, gunmen in the same quarter killed a policeman as he drove to work, police Lt. Col. Hafidh Al-Ghrayri said.

A forceful citizen response is rare, but not unheard of in a country where conflict has become commonplace and the law allows each home to have a weapon.

Early this month, police said townsmen in Wihda, 25 miles south of Baghdad, attacked a group of militants thought to be planning to raid the town and killed seven.

Last week, thousands of Iraqis protested after hearing reports that relatives of a Jordanian suicide bomber suspected of killing 125 persons in the town of Hillah celebrated him as a martyr.

After breaking into the Jordanian Embassy in Baghdad and tearing down the flag, protesters called on all foreign Arabs to leave the country and denounced Jordan’s King Abdullah II.

Iraq and Jordan recalled their respective ambassadors as a result.

In an effort to mend ties, Iraq said yesterday it would return its envoy to Amman, Jordan, one day after Abdullah ordered his envoy back to Baghdad.

Also yesterday, a seven-member U.S. congressional delegation paid a one-day visit to Baghdad, and the man expected to serve as the next prime minister, Shi’ite politician Ibrahim al-Jaafari, reportedly told the group he is in no hurry for U.S. troops to leave Iraq.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, California Democrat, who opposed the war, said Mr. al-Jaafari didn’t seem as “upbeat as our people, who seem to be very excited about the quality of the Iraqi police force.”

“My sense was he was certainly in no rush to hand over security to his new police force,” she said.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, Tennessee Republican, agreed, saying that “it’s too early to declare success.”

Iraq’s current prime minister, Iyad Allawi, urged the new National Assembly to speed negotiations on forming a coalition government “so as to resume the operation of rebuilding Iraq in all fields.”

In other violence yesterday, Iraqi commandos backed by U.S. ground and air fire attacked an apparent insurgent training camp near Lake Tharthar in eastern Iraq, killing an undetermined number of militants and capturing 20, the U.S. military said. Seven commandos were reported dead and six wounded.

And in the northern city of Mosul, the deputy police commander, Col. Wathiq Ali, said 17 militants were killed and 14 captured late Monday during an assassination attempt on police officials.

Also in Mosul, a roadside bomb that exploded near a U.S. patrol killed four civilians. It wasn’t immediately clear if the troops suffered casualties.

In the southern city of Kut, morgue officials said they had received a half dozen corpses of Iraqi army soldiers, each with bound hands and bullet-riddled heads and torsos. Six Iraqi soldiers were reported kidnapped Monday in Anbar province, west of Baghdad, police said.

The insurgents, thought to be made up mostly of people from the Sunni Arab minority that dominated during Saddam’s reign, consider Iraqi police and government officials traitors for working with U.S.-led coalition forces.

The U.S. military reported that a Marine died Monday in Anbar province, which contains the flash-point cities of Fallujah and Ramadi. No further details were given.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide