RE: Blood Bath in Iraq Continues
The Iraq Civil War continues:
Iraq blast kills 3 U.S. troops
Al-Zarqawi aides arrested
Friday, February 25, 2005 Posted: 11:58 AM EST (1658 GMT)
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Attackers killed three U.S. soldiers just north of Baghdad and a driver carrying journalists in Iskandariya on Friday, a day after a string of attacks targeting Iraqi police.
A roadside bomb exploded in the town of Tarmiya as a convoy passed, killing three Task Force Baghdad soldiers and wounding nine, a spokesman for the 3rd Infantry Division said. Tarmiya is about 20 miles north of Baghdad.
Another Task Force Baghdad soldier died Friday in "non-battle injuries."
The incidents bring the number of U.S. troops killed in the war to 1,491.
In Iskandariya, a restive town in northern Babil province 30 miles south of Baghdad, three masked gunmen fired on a car carrying employees of the al-Hurra television network Friday morning, killing the driver, police said.
"Three masked terrorists" drove up next to the car carrying al-Hurra staff and opened fire, killing the driver instantly, police said.
Al-Hurra reporter Mohammed Sharif was wounded and was taken to a hospital in Hilla, south of Iskandariya, police said. Hilla police sent patrols to the area in an effort to capture the attackers.
An al-Hurra correspondent was killed in Basra earlier this month when a group of masked men opened fire as he stood by a car outside his house while his bodyguards returned inside. Abdul-Hussein Khazal's 3-year-old son, Mohammed, also was hit by gunfire and later died.
On Thursday, insurgents launched attacks against police targets in Tikrit, Iskandariya and Kirkuk, killing at least 16 officers.
The deadliest incident occurred in Tikrit, where a suicide car bomber, dressed as an Iraqi police officer, drove into a police compound and detonated the device.
The blast killed 12 policemen and wounding 29 officers.
A Polish soldier and two Iraqi civilians were killed Friday in a traffic accident in Diwaniya, 100 miles southeast of Baghdad. It was the 17th Polish fatality during the nearly two-year-long war in Iraq.
Al-Zarqawi aids snared
Two associates of terrorist mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi were arrested in a recent raid, the Iraqi government said Friday.
Talib Mikhlif Arsan Walman al-Dulaymi, a key lieutenant of al-Zarqawi and also known as Abu Qutaybah, was arrested in a Sunday raid in Anah by Iraqi security forces. Anah is in western Iraq not far from Syria in Al Anbar province.
Also captured was Ahmad Khalid Marad Isma'il al-Rawi, also known as Abu Uthman.
The government said Abu Qutaybah is a key associate who has "extensive contacts and operational ability" throughout western Iraq.
"Abu Qutaybah was responsible for determining who, when and how terrorist network leaders would meet with al-Zarqawi," the government said.
"Abu Qutaybah filled the role of key lieutenant for the Zarqawi network arranging safe houses and transportation as well as passing packages and funds to al-Zarqawi."
His extensive contacts and operational ability throughout western Iraq made him a critical figure in the al-Zarqawi network.
"Abu Qutaybah was a known associate of other detained al-Zarqawi lieutenants, including Abu Abdul Rahman, Abu Ahmed and Abu Ali, who were captured by coalition forces," the government said.
The government said al-Rawi has "arranged meetings for Zarqawi and occasionally acted as his driver."
The al-Zarqawi terror network has been responsible for suicide bombings, kidnappings and beheadings.
Allawi: Strong support for secular leaders
Iraqi political parties continue to discuss the formation of the new transitional government.
Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, a prospective candidate for prime minister, said that as a secular politician, he feels he is more qualified than a religious candidate to help shape the new government.
The United Iraqi Alliance, the Shiite-led coalition that won last month's elections for the 275-member transitional National Assembly, has chosen Ibrahim al-Jaafari to be its candidate for prime minister. Al-Jaafari leads the religious Dawa Party.
Allawi's slate of candidates won 40 seats in the elections, but he said he is putting together a coalition of backers that includes some Kurds and United Iraqi Alliance members.
"My slate plus other groups have been putting a lot of pressure and demands that we should put other names forward. And they picked me up again," he said.
Allawi said he believed his position as a secular politician will help him.
"I think this is definitely one of the reasons. I don't believe that political Islam should be ruling Iraq. I think this probably would be problematic."
Al-Jaafari has a reputation as a unifier and someone who is inclined to reach out to other groups, such as Kurds and Sunni Arabs.
Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.
-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address