Insurgent attack kills 19 Iraqi soldiers north of Baghdad

Team Infidel

Forum Spin Doctor
BAGHDAD, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- Nineteen Iraqi soldiers were killed and
several others wounded in a bomb attack by insurgents north of Baghdad on
Saturday, a day after the Pentagon announced the death of 10 US marines
west of the capital.
The Iraqi soldiers were traveling in a five-vehicle patrol near the
restive town of Baquba, about 60 km north of Baghdad, when they were hit by
a roadside bomb. Gunmen opened fire immediately afterwards and police said
this was a well-planned attack.
Four Iraqi soldiers, five civilians and an insurgent were wounded in the
The attack followed Thursday's killing of 10 US Marines near the former
rebel city of Fallujah, the deadliest attack on US troops in four months.
The Qatar-based al-Jazeera satellite TV network reported on Saturday
that an al-Qaida group in Iraq had claimed responsibility for the Thursday
attack on the US troops.
The militant group, the Islamic Army, posted a video on its Internet
website Saturday, showing what it said was the explosion against a US
patrol near Fallujah that killed 10 US Marines.
The Arab satellite television added that the video's authenticity was
yet to be verified.
The brief video shows a Humvee, flanked by what look like US troops,
traveling slowly down a street when an explosion engulfed the vehicle,
sending clouds of dust into the air and bystanders fleeing.
"The patrol was attacked with an IED fashioned from several large
artillery shells," the US military said.
The attacks echoed US and Iraqi warnings of a rise in insurgent attacks
ahead of national elections slated for Dec. 15, and the big US troop toll
also increases pressure on the White House as over 2,120 US soldiers have
been killed in Iraq since the US-led invasion of the oil-rich country in
March 2003.
Earlier this week, US President George W. Bush said the eventual
replacement of US troops by Iraqi forces was the key to his strategy for
The US has been hoping that a big Sunni turnout in the election will
produce a government that can win the trust of the Sunnis, the backbone of
the insurgency, and convince more of them to lay down their arms.
Washington believes that would hasten the process of sending its
battle-weary troops on homeward journeys.
Nevertheless, to the dismay of the US and the Iraqi government, the
spokesman for the Sunni clerical Association of Muslim Scholars,
Abdul-Salam al-Kubaisi, said his group may review its participation in a
reconciliation process launched last month in Cairo, Egypt because of
continued killings of Sunnis by Shiite extremists.
In another development, a rocket attack killed a key al-Qaida associate
in Pakistan.
Abu Hamza Rabia, one of al-Qaida's top five leaders, was killed by
Pakistani Security forces in a rocket attack near the Afghan border with
help from the US side.
Information Minister of Pakistan Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has confirmed the
death of Rabia, international operational commander of al-Qaida, in a
"He died along with two colleagues when they were making explosives in a
house," the information minister told Geo television.
"The DNA test has confirmed that Abu Hamza has died," he said. "He was
an important man and we had been searching for him for a long time. Abu
Hamza was either number 3 or 5 in al-Qaida hierarchy."