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Daily Iraq Update for March 2, 2007

Yesterday, Iraqi security forces, backed by the tribes of the Anbar Salvation Council, fended off a major al Qaeda attack in the village of Amiriya, which is just south of Fallujah. Al Qaeda was gunning for a senior member of the Anbar Salvation Front, who was attending the funeral of one of those killed in last week's suicide bombing in Habbaniyah. Several hundred al Qaeda fighters, "including "foreign Arabs and Afghans, attacked and at least 80 were killed and 50 captured. The Amiriya police held of the initial attack, radioed for Iraq Army backup, and also received U.S. close air support.

In other Coalition and Iraq security forces operations, Coalition forces killed 8 al Qaeda during raids and skirmishes in Salman Pak. Two insurgents were captured when attempting to plant a roadside bomb on a highway near Camp Stryker in Baghdad, while another two were killed while planting a bomb near Hawija.

U.S. and Iraqi forces will establish a Joint Security Station inside Sadr City, the stronghold of Muqtada al-Sadr, the radical, Iranian-backed Shia cleric who commands the Mahdi Army. The station will open over the next few days, and will be manned by U.S. soldiers, Iraqi police, and the Iraqi Army. This will mark the first time U.S. forces have established a permanent presence in Sadr City.

A car bomb was detonated today at a market inside Sadr City. Ten were killed and 17 wounded in the attack. Al Qaeda's Islamic State in Iraq captured 18 'government' workers, including what appears to be 14 Iraqi Army soldiers going on leave from Diyala. Al Qaeda claims these men are being held in revenge for the alleged rape of a woman by Iraqi soldiers. Two U.S. soldiers and an interpreter were killed in a roadside bomb attack while conducting a route clearance mission south of Baghdad.

Yesterday, a convoy that was transporting Jalal Eddin al-Sagheer, a prominent Shia cleric and member of parliament, was hit with a roadside bomb attack. Three of his bodyguards were wounded. In Mosul, the head of the "citizenship directorate" was murdered. He was responsible for travel documents, and "rejected pressure to issue false identifications and passports."

While much of coverage on the upcoming regional summit in Iraq has focused on the rare convergence of U.S., Iranian, and Syria diplomats, the Iraqis are showing they plan on using the conference to pressure Syria. Hamid Al Bayati, Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations has said Syria's failure to prevent al Qaeda and Islamist terrorists from crossing the border will be on the agenda. "Most of the terrorists, especially suicide bombers" pass through the Syrian border, said Al Bayati, during a conference at New York University.

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