Iraq Report: Targeting the tribes; Reconciliation and Raids
Al Qaeda continues to attack tribal leaders in opposition to its Islamic State. "Attacks on tribal chiefs in Iraq, particularly in the Sunni-dominated areas of central and northern Iraq have increased recently," Azzaman reported. Today, three prominent tribal leaders were murdered. "The attacks come following reports that certain tribes were no longer willing to provide refuge for al-Qaeda-linked insurgents and some had mobilized their armed men to have them flushed from their areas," the report noted.
In Anbar province, where the Sunni tribes openly fight al Qaeda in Iraq, Reuters reported a car bomb exploded "just outside Iraq's western city of Falluja on Tuesday, killing 19 people and wounding 25." A military sourced informed us the location of the bombing was actually in Amiriyah, a town south of Fallujah where al Qaeda in Iraq and the Anbar Salvation Council have fought numerous battles.
The search for the the two remaining missing soldiers captured after an attack near Mahmudiyah south of Baghdad on May 12 has stalled. Yesterday, the Islamic State of Iraq, al Qaeda's political front, issued a video showing the ID cards and other items belonging to the two missing soldiers, and claimed they were dead. The video did not contain images of their bodies. On Sunday, the Iraqi Army killed 2 insurgents and captured one during the search for the missing soldiers south of Balad, which is far north of the capture site. Nineteen other suspects were captured during search operations near Rushdi Mullah. Multinational Forces Iraq is operating on the assumption the soldiers are still alive.
The Iraqi government is attempting to move forward on the reconciliation front. The government announced it plans to pardon prisoners as part of its revitalized reconciliation initiative. The plan is sure to create controversy as there is the possibility insurgents "with American blood on their hands" will be released. Al Qaeda in Iraq is excluded from the list of those pardoned.
Today's raids against al Qaeda in Iraq operatives in Taji, Mosul, and Fallujah resulted in the capture of 18 terrorists. The Taji raid led to the capture of a "key leader in the Rusafa [Baghdad] vehicle-borne improvised explosive device network." Monday's raids in Mosul and Karma resulted in the capture of 14 operatives, including the "senior terrorist leader in Mosul connected to the al-Qaeda in Iraq network" and "12 suspected terrorists tied to the al-Qaeda in Iraq senior leader network in Karmah."
U.S. forces continue to hunt the Iranian backed EFP cells. A raid against a "secret cell terrorist network known for facilitating the transport of weapons and explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs, from Iran to Iraq, as well as bringing militants from Iraq to Iran for terrorist training" resulted in the capture of 4 terrorists, including a cell leader. A raid on the same network resulted in 1 terrorist killed and 2 captured. One of those captured "is an integral member of the improvised explosive devises and EFP facilitation network... also believed to be responsible for numerous attacks against Coalition Forces, including heavy involvement in mortar attacks, personally observing and adjusting fire in the past two days."
In Baghdad, the construction on the Adhamiyah "wall" - the concrete barriers and fence designed to secure the neighborhood from death squads which caused a media outcry as it was compared to the fence separating Israel from the Palestinian territories - has been completed. "So far, the results have been positive," Multinational Iraq reported. "Murders are down 61 percent in Adhamiyah between the beginning of April, when construction began, and May 28, when it ended, according to reports compiled by the 2nd BCT."