Iraq Report: Battle in Babil; Amariyah update
The creation of the Iraqi Awakening movements is having an effect in Baghdad and Babil province. The Babil Salvation Council battled two tribes believed to be affiliated with al Qaeda. "Armed clashes have broke out between the Sunni Arab tribes of Janabiyeen and Girtan on one hand, and the Shi'ite Mas'oud tribe," Al-Malaf Press reported. "Sources said that the meeting ended without reaching an agreement between the two tribes, as the Janabiyeen tribe denied that it is harboring Al-Qaeda militants who target Shi'ite civilians, while the Mas'oud tribe asserted that it does." Al Qaeda recently targeted Sheikh Obeid Al-Masoudi, the head of both the Mas'oud tribe and the Babil Salvation Council.
In the western Baghdad neighborhood of Amiriyah, where local residents, insurgent groups, the Anbar Salvation Council and U.S. and Iraqi forces battled al Qaeda, a 10 day curfew has been imposed. The U.S. 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment and the 1st Battalion, 23rd Stryker Battalion was involved in the fighting.
U.S. helicopters and ground forces attacked Mahdi Army rocket teams which were targeting the Green Zone. Four Mahdi fighters were killed and 6 captured, while 10 rockets and a truck were destroyed during the operation.
Iraqi and Coalition forces press the assault on al Qaeda and insurgent networks throughout Iraq. Six al Qaeda were killed and 18 captured during raids in Fallujah, Baghdad and Taji on Thursday and Friday.
On Saturday, Iraqi and U.S. forces struck a major blow against al Qaeda in Fallujah. Seven al Qaeda, including several wearing suicide vests, were killed after a resident tipped off security forces as to their presence. Eight others were detained. Two suicide truck bombs and a bomb factory were dismantled. On Sunday, 7 al Qaeda were captured in raids in Taji and Mosul. One of those captured in Taji "works directly for an al-Qaeda military emir who coordinates all military operations in the Southern Belt and provides foreign fighters to al-Qaeda cells in Baghdad."
Also on Saturday, Coalition forces captured 8 al Qaeda operatives during raids in Hit, Baghdad and Fallujah. The military emir of Hit and an operative was killed in Fallujah. On Sunday, 7 al Qaeda were captured in raids in Taji and Mosul. One of those captured in Taji "works directly for an al-Qaeda military emir who coordinates all military operations in the Southern Belt and provides foreign fighters to al-Qaeda cells in Baghdad."
On May 29, Iraqi security forces "captured a suspected key leader of al-Qaeda" in Mosul and 4 operatives of al Qaeda and Jaysh al Islam in Tikrit. "The targeted individual [in Mosul] is allegedly responsible for constructing both vehicle-borne and emplaced improvised explosive devices that contain chlorine gas in order to attack and kill innocent civilians," Multinational Forces Iraq reported. "The captured individual is also suspected of assisting in the movement of insurgents from Syria into Iraq."
Al Qaeda's largest attack since Thursday was a suicide car bombing of a bridge that connects Kirkuk and Baghdad. "The bridge crosses the al-Adham river, a seasonal waterway that flows out of the remote Himreen hills, an insurgent hotbed around 150 kilometres (90 miles) north of the Iraqi capital," AFP, noted. "Police believe the bridge was blown up in this case to hinder police and army attempts to conduct operations against insurgents in the hills." AFP claimed the bridge was damaged, while Reuters stated it was destroyed. This the ninth bridge targeted by al Qaeda. At least two have been destroyed, and one was replaced.