Al-Maliki Directs Assault On Al-Qaeda In Mosul

Team Infidel

Forum Spin Doctor
USA Today
May 15, 2008
Pg. 5
Suicide bomber kills 22 in attack on funeral tent
By Sinan Salaheddin, Associated Press
BAGHDAD — Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki took personal charge Wednesday of a military operation to rout al-Qaeda in Iraq in what the United States has described as the terror group's last major stronghold.
The campaign in the northern city of Mosul was the third by al-Maliki in two months as he attempts to stamp out Shiite militants and Sunni extremists across the country.
Also Wednesday, a tenuous cease-fire took hold over Baghdad's Sadr City slum, but a suicide bomber killed at least 22 people and wounded 40 in an attack on a funeral tent in a village west of Baghdad, Fallujah police director Col. Faisal al-Zubaie said.
Many Sunni Arabs opposed to al-Qaeda were at the funeral in Abu Minasir, in Anbar province, for Taha Obaid. The elementary school principal was shot dead Tuesday.
South of the capital, a young girl strapped with explosives killed an Iraqi captain and wounded four soldiers Wednesday. Iraqi army Lt. Ahmed Ali said the explosives were detonated by remote control as the girl approached the Iraqi commander in Youssifiyah, in the area once known as the Triangle of Death.
Maj. John Hall, a coalition spokesman, said the U.S. military was investigating.
Al-Maliki's flight to Mosul, 225 miles northwest of the capital, mirrors a trip he took almost two months ago to the southern city of Basra, where government troops fought radical Shiite militias. That fighting spread to Sadr City, a Shiite enclave in Baghdad, where a cease-fire to end fighting was reached this week.
"The Iraqi prime minister has arrived in Mosul to supervise the military operations, and its second phase is due to start today," Defense Ministry spokesman Mohammed al-Askari said Wednesday. "The main aim of this operation is to purge and clean Ninevah province of all militants and their weapons and declare it a safe area."
Mosul is considered the last important urban staging ground for al-Qaeda in Iraq. Al-Maliki has been promising a crackdown since January, but no major offensives have been mounted even as al-Qaeda in Iraq tried to exert its influence.