Three U.S. Troops Killed in Western Iraq

Team Infidel

Forum Spin Doctor
By CHRIS TOMLINSON - Associated Press Writer
BAGHDAD, Iraq - (AP) Three American troops were killed in western
Iraq, including one along the Syrian border during a major push to take
control of the frontier from insurgents, the U.S. military said Friday.
Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, meanwhile, said the government in
Damascus must do more to stop foreign fighters from regularly slipping into
Iraq from Syria.
In a Veterans Day speech, President Bush forcefully attacked critics
of the war, saying they are undercutting American forces on the front lines.

"The stakes in the global war on terror are too high and the
national interest is too important for politicians to throw out false
charges," Bush told a crowd at the Tobyhanna, Pa., Army Depot.
A roadside bomb killed the U.S. Marine on Thursday along the Syrian
border in Karabilah, about 200 miles west of Baghdad, during Operation Steel
Curtain, the military said.
Two U.S. soldiers died after being hit by small arms fire Thursday
during combat operations in Khaldiyah, 55 miles west of Baghdad, the
military said. The soldiers were members of a U.S. army unit detailed to the
2nd Marine Division, operating in western Iraq.
The deaths brought the number of U.S. service members killed in Iraq
since the war began to 2,059, according to an Associated Press count.
Three Iraqi police officers were killed Friday when their vehicle
was ambushed near Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, officers at a
regional command center said.
Insurgents ambushed a U.S. convoy north of Baghdad, destroying two
oil tankers, witnesses said.
In the capital, gunmen opened fire on the compound of the Embassy of
Oman, killing two people and wounding two others _ the second fatal shooting
involving employees of Arab embassies in Baghdad this week, authorities
One of the dead was a policeman and the other was an embassy
employee, said police Maj. Falah al-Mohammedawi said.
On Wednesday, a driver for the Sudanese Embassy was shot to death in
the same part of the city, and last month two employees of the Moroccan
Embassy were abducted on a highway in western Iraq.
In his speech, Bush repeated a comparison he made last month about
al-Qaida's leaders, saying they were like "other fanatics in history" such
as Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin and Pol Pot.
He also said his critics were claiming the administration
manipulated intelligence to mislead the country into war, but he said a
Senate investigation "found no evidence" of political pressure to change the
intelligence community's assessments related to Saddam Hussein's weapons
"More than 100 Democrats in the House and the Senate who had access
to the same intelligence voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from
power," Bush said.
After meeting with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Baghdad,
al-Jaafari said it was "no secret" that foreign fighters slip into Iraq by
way of Syria, the main reason for Operation Steel Curtain.
"Why do they not control their borders?" al-Jaafari asked. "We
demand they control their borders, prevent infiltration and terrorism. We
want good relations with Syria, but this cannot be achieved with the
existence of such violations."
Al-Jaafari also said his government would be interested in a
reconciliation conference but only if it were "an Iraqi and national" one
and did not include "terrorists." The Arab League is trying to arrange a
conference, but the government and major Shiite parties have ruled out
participation if former members of Saddam Hussein's party and "terrorists"
were included.
Rice also toured the northern city of Mosul and said she wanted to
talk to officials about "the importance of reaching across sectarian lines."

Divisions among Iraqis "may be differences of history or tradition,
culture or ethnicity, but in a democratic process these differences can be a
strength rather than a handicap," she said.
As an example of the sectarian tensions in Iraq, Razgar Ali, the
head of the Kirkuk provincial council, said the brother of a top Sunni
leader in the Shiite-dominated government, parliament speaker Hajim
al-Hassani, was arrested by U.S. and Iraqi forces because he is "the leader
of a terrorist cell called Mohammed al-Fatih."
Hatam Mahdi al-Hassani initially was reported kidnapped along with
two others. Nash'at al-Hassani denied his brother was involved with
"We are a religious family and we have no relations with insurgents.
We demand his immediate release, if he is under police custody," he said.
The parliament speaker was not immediately available for comment.
U.S. forces also reported a Thursday raid on an insurgent cell
responsible for suicide bombings in which seven men were killed, including
one wearing a vest loaded with explosives.
"Coalition forces, acting on multiple intelligence sources and tips
from local citizens, raided three suspected terrorist safe houses," the
statement said. "During the raid, coalition forces killed seven terrorists
and detained five. The terrorists were armed with rocket-propelled grenades,
machine guns, and explosives."
In the deadliest bombing in Baghdad since Sept. 19, a suicide bomber
blew himself up in a restaurant Thursday, killing 35 police officers and
civilians and wounding 25, police Maj. Falah al-Mohammedawi said.
Al-Qaida in Iraq claimed in an Internet posting that it staged the
attack in retaliation for U.S. and Iraqi operations near the Syrian border.
Earlier, it claimed responsibility for Wednesday's deadly hotel bombings in
neighboring Jordan, linking those blasts to the conflict in Iraq.
The authenticity of those claims could not be verified.