Iraqi Resistance Report for events of Sunday 20 February 2005. Translated and/or compiled by Muhammad Abu Nasr, member, editorial board, the Free Arab Voice.
Sunday, 20 February 2005.
Fighting erupts after US besieges ar-Ramadi, threatens population with “harsh reprisals” if Resistance does not return captured American prisoner.
US occupation forces encircled and totally sealed off the city of ar-Ramadi, 110km west of Baghdad, at 5am Sunday morning local time. preventing all persons from entering or leaving. The correspondent for Mafkarat al-Islam in ar-Ramadi reported that the move closed the roads to Hit to the west, al-Fallujah to the east, al-Madinah as-Siyahiyah to the south, and to the north they closed access to the International Highway that runs to Samarra’.
The Americans dropped leaflets from helicopters into the beleaguered city threatening residents with “harsh reprisals” if an American soldier who was taken prisoner by the Resistance on Saturday is not returned. In a dispatch posted at 11:55am Sunday Mecca time, the correspondent reported that the US forces still had the city surrounded and sealed off, but that no clashes had taken place at that time.
Fighting breaks out . . .
Then in a dispatch posted at 2:20pm Mecca time Sunday afternoon, Mafkarat al-Islam reported that fighting had broken out between the Iraqi Resistance and US occupation troops in the neighborhoods of al-Mal‘ab and at-Ta’mim west and east of ar-Ramadi. No further details were immediately available.
Resistance barrage drives US back from eastern approaches to ar-Ramadi. . .
In a dispatch posted at 3:50pm Mecca time Sunday afternoon Mafkarat al-Islam reported that a short while earlier, Iraqi Resistance forces had launched an intense rocket attack on US forces in ar-Ramadi, forcing the Americans to withdraw from their positions commanding the eastern approaches to the city.
The correspondent reported that Resistance fighters fired off a barrage of 62mm mortar rounds on the US command post near the Agricultural College of al-Anbar University to the east of the city. A source in the Iraqi puppet “rapid deployment force” told the correspondent that the Resistance barrage disabled two US Humvees and killed and wounded several American troops.
Fighting in the neighborhoods of al-Mal‘ab and at-Ta’mim left eight US troops dead and nine more wounded, the dispatch reported a captain in the Iraqi puppet “rapid deployment force” as saying, as the Americans pulled back from the fighting. The correspondent reported that a whole unit of the Iraq puppet “rapid deployment force” fled from the fighting together with the US forces.
Meanwhile the correspondent reported that US occupation forces on Sunday had found the body of an American who had been taken prisoner the day before. The beheaded body was found on the southern edges of ar-Ramadi.
At the moment of writing, the correspondent reported that minarets were broadcasting calls of Allahu Akbar! [God is greatest!] and prayers for victory for the Resistance. Some mosques had cancelled the congregational services of the noon and afternoon prayers due to the intensity of the battle raging around them.
Resistance shoots down US Apache helicopter. . .
In a dispatch posted at 6:50pm Sunday night Mecca time, the ar-Ramadi correspondent for Mafkarat al-Islam reported that Iraqi Resistance forces in the city had shot down a US Apache helicopter.
Resistance fighters fired a Strela rocket at the Apache as it hovered over the at-Ta’mim neighborhood, the correspondent wrote, completely destroying the aircraft and killing the crew. The correspondent reported that fire was still burning in the wreckage of the Apache at the time of writing, as US troops search for the bodies of the crewmen.
Iraqi Resistance martyrdom fighter wearing explosive belt blows up high-ranking US officer in ar-Ramadi. . .
In a dispatch posted at 7:25pm Mecca time Sunday night, the ar-Ramadi correspondent of Mafkarat al-Islam reported that a short while before Iraqi Resistance forces had killed a high-ranking US officer and five of his aides.
The correspondent reported that an Iraqi Resistance martyrdom fighter wearing an explosive belt blew himself up next to the officer as he reviewed his troops along the western boundaries of ar-Ramadi. The correspondent reported an employee of the al-Anbar Province puppet government office building as saying that a person wearing the uniform of the puppet “national guard” was able to break into a gathering of soldiers standing around a high-ranking US officer. He threw himself at the American officer along with his companions and aides and blew himself up, killing the officer and five of the other officers who were around him.
Frightened and unnerved at this totally unexpected attack, US forces then arrested a number of officers in the puppet “national guard” without charge, the correspondent reported.
US announces repressive measures on ar-Ramadi.
The US military on Sunday declared that it was strengthening its “security” measures in ar-Ramadi and other Euphrates cities. A US announcement said that the First Marine Division and Iraqi puppet security forces carried out what they called operation “River Blitz”, imposing a curfew from 8pm to 6am on these cities, together with other measures to “increase security,” as the Americans refer to their repression of the local population.
Agence France Presse (AFP) reported Major General Richard Natonski, commander of the 1st US Marines expeditionary force, as saying that the measures also involve “observing” movement in and out of ar-Ramadi, setting up checkpoints to search for weapons and Resistance fighters (or ‘terrorists’ as the American announcement called them).
Other cities covered by the US repressive measures are Hit, Baghdadi, and al-Hadithah.
Resistance forces ambush US truck convoy on its way to A22 base.
Iraqi Resistance forces ambushed three US trucks in the city of al-Qa’im on the Syrian border killing six American soldiers, Mafkarat al-Islam reported from the city.
The local correspondent reported that the Resistance attacked trucks loaded with military supplies on their way from the ‘Ayn al-Asad military base to the American base known as A22 in al-Qa’im. Before the arrival of the column, Resistance fighters planted bombs in the middle of the road that exploded under the vehicles. The first truck was destroyed and then Resistance fighters opened fire on the rest of the column with bazookas and C5K rockets, destroying the second and third trucks in the convoy and killed a total of six American soldiers. One Iraqi Resistance fighter was also killed in the attack.
The correspondent reported that US forces only arrived on the scene of the attack after two hours, a period of time that allowed the Resistance attackers to safely remove the remaining supplies from the three trucks.
Iraqi Resistance car bomber hits US column northwest of al-Qa’im Sunday morning.
In a dispatch posted at 11:39am Mecca time Sunday morning, the Mafkarat al-Islam correspondent in al-Qa’im on the border with Syria reported that a short while before an Iraqi Resistance car bomb had blasted into a US military column near the city.
Eyewitnesses told the correspondent that the blast left 14 US troops dead or wounded. The correspondent, who hurried to the scene of the bombing, reported that the attack car was a pickup truck that was driven by a Resistance martyrdom fighter. The attack took place northwest of al-Qa’im on the road leading to the phosphate mines.
The correspondent reported that three US Humvees were destroyed killing or wounding 14 US soldiers. Mine workers who witnessed the attack told the correspondent that more than eight US troops were killed and the rest wounded. The American occupation forces called in helicopters to evacuate the casualties. At the time of writing, the correspondent said that the aircraft were still flying about the sky of the area.
Powerful Resistance bomb blasts US column near Hadithah.
An Iraqi Resistance bomb exploded by a US military column in the village of Jubbah, north of Hadithah, which is 370km west of Baghdad. Witnesses told the correspondent of Mafkarat al-Islam that at about 8:30am Sunday local time, the bomb blew up by the US column made up of four Humvees as it passed through Jubbah. The blast destroyed one Humvee and killed or wounded five Americans.
The correspondent reported that the bomb was planted by the Resistance on the Palace Road the Old Area. After planting the explosive device, the Resistance fighters went to herders and peasants in the area, and asked them not to get near the road until after the US troops had gone by.
The correspondent reported that the blast was a powerful one, throwing a US soldier who was standing on the back of a vehicle 10 meters through the air to his death.
In bold mid-day attack: Resistance fighters attack US prison convoy freeing 11 captive Resistance fighters headed for execution.
In a dispatch posted at 2:05pm Mecca time Sunday afternoon, the correspondent of Mafkarat al-Islam in Baghdad reported that a short while before, Iraqi Resistance fighters had managed to set free 11 Iraqi prisoners who were on their way from the US Abu Ghurayb prison camp west of the capital to the American execution field in Baghdad.
The correspondent reported eyewitnesses as saying that at exactly 12 noon more than 20 Resistance fighters carrying rocket launchers and medium-weight machine guns attacked a US convoy transporting a number of Iraqi and other Arab prisoners wearing special red clothing reserved for those heading for their execution. The men had been captured by the Americans and held for several days.
The correspondent reported that the attack took place at the village of Zawbi‘, which is near Abu Ghurayb, and lies along the main road leading to Baghdad. In the course of the attack, the Resistance fighters destroyed three Humvees, killing all the Americans aboard them.
The correspondent wrote that a fourth Humvee was disabled and the Resistance fighters succeeded in releasing 18 Iraqi prisoners. Seven of the men, however, were killed as the Resistance fighters made their get away through an agricultural area, when US helicopters pursued them and opened fire from the air. One of the Resistance fighters was also martyred as they withdrew.
The correspondent wrote that at that moment US forces had encircled the area where the attack took place and were carrying out searches for the escaped prisoners and the Resistance fighters who liberated them. The Resistance fighters were able to carry off the bodies of the martyred men and then disappeared completely into date palm groves.
A member of the Iraqi puppet army who was stationed in the area where the attack occurred told the correspondent for Mafkarat al-Islam that 13 US troops were killed and four more wounded in the attack. The collaborator told the correspondent that “Eighteen ‘terrorists’ tried to get away, but seven of them were killed as they fled from the scene of the battle.” The puppet soldier, who refused to give his name, said that the liberated prisoners were all sentenced to be executed. He said that a number fo them were Arab fighters who had been captured in al-Fallujah.
Turkish regime cancels political coordination with Syria, strengthening ties with Washington.
The Ankara correspondent of the Egyptian newspaper al-Ahram reported Sunday that the Turkish paper Cumhuriyet had disclosed that the Turkish government felt it was having difficulties carrying out is special policy of coordination with Iran and Syria in preserving the territorial integrity of Iraq. US-backed efforts to split Iraqi into three states on ethnic and sectarian lines have alarmed Turkey because the resulting Kurdish state in northern Iraq would pose problems both for Iraqi Turkomen and for the Turkish state itself.
As the US stokes up tensions with Syria, however, Turkey is moving away from its earlier positions, the newspaper writes. The Turkish paper points to efforts by Syria and Iran to strengthen their ties in the face of US pressure as complicating Turkey’s relations with Syria. Moves by Damascus and Tehran, however, only came in response to US pressure, which must, therefore, be seen as the real impetus behind Ankara’s new orientation as well.
Cumhuriyet reported that Turkey has now abrogated its understanding with Syria and Iran, that was based on an Iranian call made a year ago, for political coordination between the three neighbors of Iraq regarding Iraqi territorial integrity. Cumhuriyet says that although Ankara still wishes to prevent the partition of Iraq, it cannot allow itself to take a position together with Syria and Iran against the United States. In lieu of political coordination, therefore, Ankara now claims that it will only hold “consultations” with Syria and Iran.
Cumhuriyet explained that the second George Bush term was to be focused on pressure on Syria and Iran. The US administration hopes to rely on its strategic relationship with Turkey as it carries out its policy of hostility to the Turkey’s southern neighbors, and this means that Turkey will be expected to apply pressure of its own on Damascus and Tehran. The recent visit of US Secretary of State Condaleezza Rice to Ankara served to bring this point home to the Turkish rulers.
Although the present Turkish government has not completely and fully embraced such role, its leadership has made statements distancing itself from its neighbors. The US-backed effort to use the 30 January election farce to turn Kirkuk into a “Kurdish” city has made the realization of Turkey’s desire for Iraqi territorial integrity all the more difficult to realize under the conditions of a US-dominated region such as Ankara desires. The Turks have apparently opted, therefore, to get what they can by further strengthening their position with the US, distancing themselves from Syria as it comes under mounting US imperialist and Zionist pressure.
Massive Resistance bomb destroys tank, kills seven US troops in al-Yusufiyah.
An Iraqi Resistance bomb exploded and destroyed a US tank, killing all aboard in the city of al-Yusufiyah on Sunday, Mafkarat al-Islam reported.
The correspondent in al-Yusufiyah wrote that the bomb struck a US column made up of seven various vehicles in the center of the city, destroying one tank and killing all aboard. The blast left a huge, nearly six-meter deep, crater in the middle of the road.
The high-explosive bomb was planted in the middle of a dirt road linking al-Yusufiyah to Baghdad. The correspondent personally saw the wreckage of the US tank in the middle of the road. Seven American troops were aboard the vehicle.
After the attack, the Americans closed off the area, preventing the Mafkarat al-Islam correspondent in al-Yusufiyah and other journalists (including writers for Reuters, Agence France Presse, and the Associated Press) from taking pictures of the wrecked vehicle.
Ba‘qubah – Diyala Province.
Heaviest Resistance rocket barrage in a month hits US base near Ba‘qubah.
Iraqi Resistance forces mounted a powerful rocket attack on the US base in the Kharnabat area north of Ba‘qubah, which lies northeast of Baghdad, hitting the American occupation facility with nine rockets.
The correspondent for Mafkarat al-Islam in Ba‘qubah reported a source in the city puppet police as saying that the Resistance launched its barrage at 7am Sunday, local time, sending plumes of smoke rising over the facility. After the attack, secondary explosions could be heard going off within the base as US munitions began to detonate.
The correspondent asked the source why there was such a heavy presence of US helicopters circling over the base, the source said that dozens of US troops were killed and wounded in the attack. He said that an hour after the barrage, the Americans had recovered the bodies of six dead Iraqis who were working as collaborators with the Americans inside the base. Iraqi puppet police who returned the bodies of the dead Iraqi collaborators to their families told the Mafkarat al-Islam correspondent that 41 US troops were killed or wounded in the attack, which was the fiercest to hit the base in an entire month. The last attack of such scale left 23 Americans dead or wounded according to a US announcement, the correspondent recalled.