US Special Forces fighting inside Sadr City
Soldiers from Company A, 64th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division set concrete barriers in place in the surroundings of the southern portion of the Sadr City district of Baghdad May 3. (US Army photo/Specialist Joseph Rivera Rebolledo)
The battle for Sadr City continues as US and Iraqi forces continue to erect the concrete security barrier on Qods Street, the main thoroughfare that divides the southern third of Sadr City from the northern portion. US Special Operations Forces teams have entered the fray, and the specialized teams are fighting inside the Mahdi Army bastion for the second day in a row.
Twenty-three Mahdi Army fighters have been killed by US and Iraqi troops since the afternoon of May 8. US Special Operations teams operating inside Sadr City killed nine Mahdi Army fighters as they attacked Iraqi and US forces building the concrete barrier on Qods Street. The team also directed an airstrike that killed two more Mahdi Army fighters. Yesterday, US Special Forces killed two Mahdi Army fighters inside Sadr City.
US soldiers killed 12 more Mahdi Army fighters inside Sadr City from May 8-9. US troops used unmanned aerial vehicles, helicopters, Abrams tanks, and small-arms fire in response to Mahdi Army attacks inside Sadr City. Mahdi Army fighters continue attempt to disrupt the building of the barrier. The US military said the construction should be completed in two weeks. Inside the secured area in southern Sadr City, the Iraqi Army is providing medical, humanitarian, and construction aid to civilians.
The US military has described the barrier as a "magnet" for Mahdi Army attacks as they seek to stop the construction effort. A total of 562 Mahdi Army fighters have been confirmed killed in and around Sadr City since March 25, according to numbers compiled by The Long War Journal.
Operations continue in the South
The Iraqi military continues to apply pressure on the Mahdi Army and the Sadrist movement in Basrah and the South.
More than 70 percent of Basrah has been cleared, Multinational Forces Iraq reported. Iraqi police arrested 45 "wanted persons" and three "suspects" in Basrah on May 8. A Mahdi Army rocket attack killed two civilian contractors and wounded four civilians and four Coalition soldiers at a forward operating base outside the city the same day.
In Karbala, police arrested the leader of a Mahdi Army "special brigades" and two of his lieutenants. In Amara, police captured two Mahdi Army fighters as they were transporting 25 "anti-tank landmines". In Diwaniyah, police captured two men behind the assassination of the provincial governor.