Originally Posted by Jayhawk
I recall reading of some honest mistakes, but smelled nothing cooking.
You're a ledgend in your own mind bear...
Apparently we have them right where they want us.
Iraqi Deputy Oil Minister Kidnapped
By KIM GAMEL, Associated Press Writer
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
(08-14) 11:03 PDT BAGHDAD, (AP) --
Dozens of uniformed gunmen in 17 official vehicles stormed an Oil Ministry compound in Baghdad and abducted a deputy oil minister and three other officials, a ministry spokesman and police said.
Outside the capital, two suicide truck bombers separately struck a strategic bridge and a complex housing a small religious minority, killing at least 19 people, police said.
The attacks came as 16,000 U.S. and Iraqi troops began a new operation north of the Iraqi capital targeting insurgents who have fled a crackdown in the restive city of Baqouba, the military said Tuesday.
Abdel-Jabar al-Wagaa, the senior assistant to Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani, was spirited away by more than 50 gunmen wearing security forces uniforms and driving what were believed to be military vehicles, said Assem Jihad, the oil ministry spokesman.
An Interior Minister official, speaking anonymously because he was not authorized to release the information, said a top official in the State Oil Marketing Organization and three directors general in the operation also were kidnapped.
The official said five bodyguards were wounded in the raid on the State Oil Marketing Organization complex in eastern Baghdad.
Five Britons were seized May 29 in a similar raid on Iraq's Finance Ministry, not far from the oil marketing office. They were taken by gunmen wearing police uniforms and have not been found.
Both government organizations are near the lawless Sadr City Shiite enclave, a stronghold of the Mahdi Army militia.
The raid also was reminiscent of an attack by Mahdi Army fighters, dressed as Interior Ministry commandos, who stormed a Higher Education Ministry office Nov. 14 and snatched away as many as 200 people. Dozens of those kidnap victims were never been found.
Jihad said the kidnappers Tuesday were an "armed gang" and took the deputy minister from his home in the compound. He said the gunmen stole a number of cars from the compound, most of them belonging to the marketing organization.
The Thiraa Dijla bridge in Taji, a town near a U.S. air base some 12 miles north of the capital, came under attack around noon, police said, giving a toll of at least 10 dead.
The bridge, which stretched across a canal on the main highway that links Baghdad with the northern city of Mosul, was bombed three months ago and only one lane had reopened, according to the police officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.
The attacker detonated his payload after going through an Iraqi army checkpoint about 40 yards away from the span, which was devastated, according to the officials.
Another truck and a number of cars plunged into the canal, which links the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers, and rescue efforts were under way, the officials said.
In northwestern Iraq, a suicide attacker driving a fuel truck struck a residential complex housing members of the minority Yazidi sect, killing at least nine people and wounding 14 in the town of Qahataniya, 75 miles west of Mosul, police Brig. Gen. Maawad Ahmed said.
The attack on the Yazidi bore the hallmark of al-Qaida, which has been regrouping in the north of the country after being driven from safe havens in Anbar and Diyala provinces.
Four more U.S. soldiers were reported killed in separate attacks — three in an explosion near their vehicle Monday in the northwestern Ninevah province and another who was died of wounds from combat in western Baghdad.
On Tuesday, an American transport helicopter went down during a post-maintenance test flight near Taqaddum air base, in Anbar province, a Sunni insurgent stronghold that has become calmer in recent months as tribal leaders have joined forces against al-Qaida in Iraq.
In an e-mailed statement, 1st Lt. Shawn Mercer, a Marine spokesman, said emergency response crews had sealed off the site and the cause was being investigated. The statement provided no information about how many people were on the helicopter or their status.
The U.S. and Iraq operation north of the capital, dubbed Operation Lightning Hammer, began late Monday with an air assault and was part of a broader U.S. push announced Monday to build on successes in Baghdad and surrounding areas by targeting al-Qaida in Iraq and Iranian-allied Shiite militia fighters nationwide.
Maj. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, commander of U.S. forces in northern Iraq, said the troops were pursuing al-Qaida cells that had been disrupted and forced into hiding by previous operations.
Local officials, meanwhile, said four civilians, including a young girl, were killed and five wounded Tuesday during a raid by joint U.S.-Iraqi forces in Baghdad's Shiite district of Sadr City. The U.S. military said four gunmen were killed and eight detained after a fierce gunfight.
Spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Garver said he had no reports of civilians killed in the operation: "We work very hard to avoid any injury to civilians."
Associated Press photos showed the body of 6-year-old Zahraa Hussein lying in a wooden coffin, her white nightdress stained with blood. A police official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information, said the girl and her father had been struck by shrapnel while they slept on the roof of their house seeking relief from the heat.
On the political front, leaders of Iraq's divided factions held a flurry of meetings in preparation for a crisis council planned by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki trying to save his crumbling government, which faces allegations of a Shiite bias.
"I think that the circumstances require us to do our best to bring the country out of this difficult situation," Iraq's Sunni Vice President Tariq Hashemi said.
Iraqi Deputy Oil Minister Kidnapped