Iraqi, US forces strike al Qaeda’s network in the North

Iraqi and US forces killed five al Qaeda fighters and captured 149 suspects, including two senior leaders, during operations in Iraq’s North over the past three days. In Mosul, an Iraqi soldier shot and killed two US soldiers and wounded six others during a joint patrol in the eastern part of the city.

Iraqi forces killed five al Qaeda fighters and rounded up 67 suspected al Qaeda operatives and insurgents were in the northeastern province of Diyala. Nine local al Qaeda emirs were captured “in an underground bunker used for torturing and beheading captives,” AFP reported, while five operatives were killed when troops raided a weapons cache.

Iraqi forces captured two senior al Qaeda in Iraq leaders, including Riyad Wahab Hassan Falih, who was described as “the number-one butcher.”

“Iraqi forces received intelligence on a very dangerous terrorist known as the number-one butcher who was responsible for a beheading squad that slaughtered innocent people,” an Iraqi general told AFP. Falih “also supervised the training of terrorists specializing in beheading Iraqis.”

Iraqi police and soldiers also detained Ahmed Hassan al Azawi, an al Qaeda emir, or leader, in the Khalis region in Diyala.

In Ninewa province, a joint Iraqi police and Army force detained 66 “wanted men” during raids in southern Mosul on Nov. 11. Sixteen al Qaeda fighters, including a Syrian, were captured during raids in western Mosul the day prior.

Al Qaeda in Iraq has retreated to the rural regions of Diyala province and is attempting to hold onto the city of Mosul in Ninewa. Diyala and Ninewa are two of the four remaining provinces that have yet to be transferred to Iraqi control. Fourteen of Iraq’s 18 provinces are under the control of Iraq’s security forces.

Iraqi soldier kills two US troops in Mosul

Two US soldiers were killed and six more were wounded by an Iraqi soldier during a joint patrol in Mosul, Multinational Forces Iraq reported.

“Initial reports indicate the attacker was an Iraqi soldier who was hiding in a building when he engaged the patrol,” the US military said in a press release. US troops returned fire and killed the attacker.

An Iraqi official claimed a US soldier insulted the Iraqi trooper by slapping him on patrol, but the US military denied this. “There was no argument,” said. Major General Mark Hertling, the commander of US forces in the North. “There was no spitting or cursing between the individuals. In fact there was not even a conversation between the Iraqi soldier who was shooting and the soldiers who were shot.”

“This attack is believed at this time to have been conducted by a lone Iraqi soldier,” said Colonel Bill Buckner, a spokesman for the Multinational Corps Iraq. “The other IA soldiers in the area immediately came to the assistance of the CF and provided medical evacuation. The coalition forces involved in this incident have worked with the IA unit for a long time in strong partnership and we will uncover what happened leading up to the incident.”

The US military has launched an investigation.

The Mosul incident is a rare case of direct fighting between US ad Iraqi forces. Tens of thousands of US troops are partnered with Iraqi soldiers and police unit in hundreds of combat outposts and joint security stations throughout Iraq.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.



  • KaneKaizer says:

    Wow, sounds like a very successful series of raids.

  • Rosario says:

    Thanks for reporting the good news, and the bad. The IA seems to be getting more capable, hopefully the intelligence that led to the capture was from their own sources as well. Regretfully, with over 100,000 enlisted and NCO’s working closely with the IA or other local security organizations, the probability of such incidents (fragging?) ocuring in the future is substantial, especially as time goes on. “Fragging” may not be quite the right term, but the US taxpayer did pay for that IA soldier’s training and the bullets he used. Whatever the correct word is, I am sure those facts are of little comfort to the families of the deceased.

  • DJ Elliott says:

    1. There have been more US troops intentionally killed by US troops in Iraq,
    than there have been US troops killed by Iraqi Security Forces since they started rebuilding them.
    2. There are four times as many ISF as US forces in Iraq, which would indicate at least four times the number of such incidents if your statement was close to the truth. How many seperate incidents have you heard of? Not how many times has the same incident been reported by the press…
    3. The GoI payed for 75% of the ISF budget this year and the rifle/ammo probably came from their side of the budget, since we are paying for the HMMWVs this year and they are buying the weapons with their own dime. Next year, the numbers will be even less from the US.
    With all these details contradicting your “fragging” propaganda, would you mind getting your facts straight?

  • Cordell says:

    What is the likelihood that the IA soldier involved in this shooting incident was an AQI or IAI insurgent who somehow got through the standard background checks? Over the past few years, there have been numerous reports of AQI and JAM infiltrating the Iraqi police. In fact, one Baghdad police chief stated last year that as many as 30% of his force were linked to JAM, although he was trying to weed them out.
    Overall, though, the recent uptick in bombings appears to be the last gasp of AQI and JAM. The “use it or lose it” mindset among them seems increasingly prevalent. AQI’s recruiting/duping teenage girls for suicide bombings seems to parallel Hitler’s ordering teenage boys and old men into battle. The ratio of 5 AQI killed to 149 captured suggests too that they have lost the will to fight. Do these “arm chair quarterback” perceptions match those of the CF officers on the ground there?

  • tyrone says:

    Thanks for the excellent reporting.
    The mainstream media barely is aware that we are still fighting in Iraq, since their primary focus seems to be US forces killed. You would think some of this good news would come through, but there is a lack of sensationalism in it. Perhaps the US public shares a lot of blame – that’s what they like to read and discuss – sensational stuff.
    Sounds like we are still making progress in rolling up the AQ networks in their last strongholds.
    Great job troops!

  • Andrew R. says:


    I don’t know if I’d characterize the latest spate of bombings as a “last gasp.” Rather, it seems that as some of the walls and checkpoints come down, the bad guys are going to try and use whatever resources they have to exploit a new sense of openness. That, and as U.S. troops shift to overwatch, there’s going to be some problems in that the IP’s are just not as good as an American S-2, and they won’t be for a while.

    So I suspect something of an overall uptick of violence in Baghdad and Baquba, if nothing else.

  • KW64 says:

    It seems that Al Queda’s and Iran’s big targets right now are to prevent a status of forces agreement and to push the new US administration to stick to its pormises of quick withdrawl. Keep an agreement from being reached and maybe US forces will leave sooner and open an opportunity. Create enough bombings and American deaths and maybe Obama will feel he needs to get out quick. Whether stepped up bombing would impact either of these issues and which way it would push is not clear to me; however, if the insurgency cannot change the current course of events, their defeat seems certain; so maybe anything is worth a try in their view.

  • DJ Elliott says:

    Entirely likely. Or it could have been a personal issue.
    You will get inflitrators and disgruntaled in any large force and the Iraqi Security Forces are four times the size of the coalition forces in Iraq.
    Yet, I have not seen four times the number of such incidents as compared to US on US incidents.
    Just 10x the amount of propaganda reporting whenever one of the couple of handfull of incidents has occured…

  • GME says:

    Sad news about the loss of our service men, but somehow, with the partnership of U.S. and Iraq security forces, I can’t help but think that a certain number of Iraqi military will express condolences to their American partners over this incident and work harder to weed out rogues.
    The good news in the story–as noted by Cordell–is the wide ratio of AQI killed to captured. In the classic “Art of War,” Sun Tzu observed that defeating an enemy is not achieved only by destroying him and his resources, but rather by weakening his will to fight. Nevertheless, let’s not forget that AQ would rush back to the fight if the U.S. abandons Iraq at this sensitive time.

  • Rosario says:

    DJ Elliot,
    Thank for your comments, I was not aware of the number of homicides between our own troops. That is why I like reading the LWJ, the information is unbiased and seems to be vetted. You are right, we haven’t heard of many instances of iraqi troops fragging ours. My comments are based on statistics that should have no bias.
    have a look at the US homicide statistics compiled by the FBI:
    * US homicide rate ~6 per 100k population per year
    * percentages of victims by race are equally split between races (white 50.9%, black 46.9%)
    *percentages of offenders by race are equally split between races (white 45.8%, black 52.2%)
    It is interesting the near even split of racial demographics of victims and offenders despite one group being 15%-20% of the total population.
    Consider the numbers of troops in Iraq (aproximately):
    100K american
    400K iraqi
    500k total troops
    Assume the combined population of troops homicide rate is roughly equal to FBI statistics (a conservative estimate):
    500K troops x 6 homicides /100K = 30 homicides per year for the combined force.
    How many should be US victims: 50% of 30 = 15
    Of that number how many are victims by iraqi offenders: 50% of 15 – 7 to 8 troops!!
    The science of statistics indicates the probablity iraqi offenders to US victims is additive over time, year by year.
    Therefore I conclude:
    US and Iraqi forces are not integrated homogeneously
    The general homicide rate and the rate of iraqi offender to US victims is less than the US. Given the cultural diffences between the two demographic groups this is hard to believe.
    Our military is under reporting such incidences
    The probability density function distribution of US victim iraqi offender homicide rates by year is skewed. Depending on function (gaussian, log normal ect) that number will revert to the mean – we will be in for an increased number of these incidents in the future!
    The real truth is somewhere between these four conclusions.
    best rgds,

  • Joakim Ekström says:

    Very sad news indeed. May God comfort the families of those deceased. They are in our thoughts and prayers.
    I think it’s important not to jump to premature conclusions. I’m sure there have been homocides in e.g. ROK, Japan and Germany as well. Let’s not allow one mad man to ruin the entire endeavor. I don’t think that is what the deceased would have wanted.

  • DJ Elliott says:

    You are assuming western hospitality rules.
    We have personnel embedded in most of the bns, plus all the Bde and above HQs.
    It is a major violation of Iraqi law and tribal tradition to kill guests. Betrayal of trust. And that is what the IA looks at the MiTTs and partnered units as – guests. By their laws and traditions, that is a death penalty offense and an embarasment to the family, clan, and tribe of the offender.
    My guess is it was an inflitrator. Sombody who did not consider themselves bound by Iraqi laws and traditions…
    Note: I said Iraqi, not moslem. Iraqis has some distinctly non-moslem tribal traditions.
    E.G. They do not number their units with the number 13 because they consider it bad luck. They do this despite such superstitions being a violation of the idolotry rules in the Koran…
    Update: “False reportis”

  • Rosario says:

    DJ Elliott,
    Good interview on the video post – thanks. One way to check cultural hypothesis is to know what the actual homicide rate is between US troops in Iraq is. It should be comparable (or higher) to US statistics since the demographics of our military match our population. If so, this incident is an anomaly.

  • DJ Elliott says:

    “It should be comparable (or higher) to US statistics since the demographics of our military match our population. If so, this incident is an anomaly.”
    False premis for the following reasons:
    1. The education level required to join the military is higher than the average education in the US. We have the highest educated military of any country in world history. To enlist you are required to have a GED/HS Diploma. So the under-educated are not represented.
    2. Major crimes are also down checks. So the serious criminal element is seriously under-represented.
    3. Any illegal drug use at all is automatic discharge. First strike and you are out has been policy for two decades. Zero tolerance. So the druggie community is seriously under-represented.
    4. You have to be physically/mentaly able to do the job and there are minimum/max hight/weight criteria. So the disabled, mentally unfit, overweight, anorexic, and physically unfit are under-represented.
    5. The Armed Forces are voluntary. This means the anti-military elements are under-represented. Also, since the military self-selects, the pampered rich and spoiled elitest are also under-represented (but those always were since the elitest could always afford a way out, even under the draft).
    The only time the US Military came close to reflecting US demographics was WWII, when approx 10 percent of the US population was in military uniform. The draft could be gotten around by the rich and influential with bribes and deferments, so they have always been under-represented…
    Note: If these type of incidents were common, then the USMC would not have lost more personnel to motorcycle accidents over the last year than were killed by all causes in Iraq…


Islamic state



Al shabaab

Boko Haram