U.S. military says soldier may have saved lives

October 29th, 2005  
Team Infidel

Topic: U.S. military says soldier may have saved lives

U.S. military says soldier who defended the Palestine Hotel compound during insurgent attack may have saved lives

BAGHDAD, Iraq - (AP) A U.S. soldier shot and killed one of three
suicide bombers who attacked the Palestine Hotel complex this week before he
could reach his intended target and that probably saved lives in the
building, the military said Saturday.
In a statement that appeared to contain new information about
Monday's attack, the military said the insurgents also apparently used small
arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades in their well-coordinated strike on
the hotel complex, where many foreign journalists live and work.
The attack involved three suicide car bomb vehicles. The first blew
a hole in a cement wall protecting the complex. The second car exploded
nearby as a possible diversion. Then a large cement mixer drove into the
complex through the hole in the wall and exploded on a small road between
the Palestine Hotel and the Sheraton Hotel, two 17-story buildings.
The three powerful explosions wounded several people in the complex,
but killed 17 Iraqis who were in the area at the time, the government said.
Video footage from a security camera at the Palestine Hotel showed
that the cement truck was fired on by a U.S. soldier from inside the
compound. The vehicle also was seen rocking back and forth before it
exploded, apparently because it was stuck on barbed wire or had collided
with a small concrete barrier in the road.
But the U.S. military said Saturday that its soldier had killed the
driver before he could drive up to the front entrance of the Palestine
Hotel, where the journalists are based.
Spc. Darrell Green, a machine gunner, was guarding the complex from
an observation post at the Sheraton Hotel when insurgents began their
attack, the military said.
As the dust and debris cleared from the first car bomb explosion at
the complex wall, Green saw the cement truck enter and drive in about 50
feet (15 meters), the military said.
"As he shot and killed the driver, preventing the vehicle from going
any further, the truck detonated," the statement said.
The truck and its driver were obliterated by the powerful blast,
making it impossible to know whether the explosives had been set off by a
timer or by the driver before he died.
"He was trying to kill people," Green was quoted as saying. "It was
good we stopped him because he would have killed more people and destroyed
the building."
At the time, the Sheraton Hotel was being hit with small-arms fire
and what soldiers believe to be rocket-propelled grenades, the military
Al Qaida in Iraq later claimed responsibility for the attack on a
Web site, but that could not be independently confirmed.
U.S. Army Capt. John Newman, meanwhile, agreed with Iraqi government
officials who questioned an early theory by a national security adviser that
the insurgents had hoped to enter the hotel complex and take journalists
"I don't think capturing journalists was the goal," Newman was
quoted as saying. "They were just trying to cause death and destruction, and
get on the news."