Coalition Forces Kill Dozens of Insurgents in Raid
The New York Times reports that upwards of 80 insurgents have been killed in raids on compounds in Iraq.
Iraqi and American forces killed up to 80 insurgents Tuesday in a fierce battle during a morning raid on what appeared to be the largest guerilla training camp to be discovered in the war, American and Iraqi officials said today. Seven Iraqi policemen were killed and six were wounded.
The number of fighters killed was the most reported in a single battle since the American invasion of the city of Falluja, an insurgent stronghold, last November. The size and location of the camp, with scores of guerrillas living in tents and small buildings in a marshy lakeside encampment in western Iraq, revealed a new strategy among the insurgents, American military officials contended. It is the first time the military has come across insurgents organizing in such numbers in a remote rural location, similar to Al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan, the officials said.
“A year ago, they preferred to organize in small cells in urban areas,” said Maj. Richard Goldenberg, a spokesman for the 42nd Infantry Division, which sent soldiers and attack helicopters to aid the hundreds of Iraqi commandos who raided the camp. “Here, they organized into a large group in a remote site, perhaps under the impression that coalition forces wouldn’t look for them there.”
Along with munitions, training manuals and suicide bomb vests, the Iraqi and American forces discovered identification papers that showed some of the fighters had come from outside Iraq, said Major Goldenberg. He declined to identify the nationalities of the foreign insurgents, though Iraqi officials said they came from Arab countries.
This appears to be in addition to those killed in operations reported earlier this morning.
Update (1125): Reuters/ABC reports the number as 84. Do I hear 90? 100?
(1415): AP says 85.