Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Terrorists Abduct Governor of Iraq's Anbar Province

Terrorists have kidnapped Raja Nawaf Farhan al-Mahalawi, governor of the Iraqi province of Anbar. They're demanding that US troops leave the area. An assault by approximately 1,000 US Marines, Sailors, and Soldiers has killed upwards of 100 foreign insurgent terrorists in an ongoing offensive near the Syrian border.

BAGHDAD (AP) Gunmen kidnapped the governor of Iraq’s western Anbar province Tuesday and told his family he would be released when U.S. forces withdraw from Qaim, the site of a major offensive against followers of Iraq’s most-wanted militant, relatives said.

Gov. Raja Nawaf Farhan al-Mahalawi was seized as he drove from Qaim to the provincial capital of Ramadi, his brother, Hammad, told The Associated Press.

The kidnappers later called the family and said they were holding the governor until U.S. forces pull out of the Syrian border town about 200 miles west of Baghdad, Hammad Nawaf Farhan al-Mahalawi said.
The foreign militants, believed to be followers of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, have come from Jordan, Syria, and Saudi Arabia to cross the border from Syria in this remote area.

The reversion to terrorist tactics is a clear indication that they are losing the battle badly against the Marines. Embedded journalists with the assault force have reported insurgents hiding in the basements of houses and firing up at Marines through floor grates.

This is the latest press release issued by the Marine Corps:
Marines continuing combat operations in northwestern Al Anbar province
May 10, 2005

CAMP BLUE DIAMOND, Iraq -- Marines, Sailors and Soldiers from Regimental Combat Team-2, 2nd Marine Division, are continuing combat operations in northwestern Al Anbar province.

The offensive is aimed at eliminating insurgents and foreign fighters from the area. The region, a known smuggling route and sanctuary for foreign fighters, is also used as a staging area where foreign fighters receive weapons and equipment for their attacks in the more populated key cities of Baghdad, Ramadi, Fallujah and Mosul.

Yesterday, Soldiers from the Army's 814th Multi-Role Bridge Company constructed a pontoon bridge across the Euphrates River where intelligence reports indicate the enemy is located. Marines crossed over from the southern banks to the north and are now operating in the northern Jazirah Desert and in pursuit of the enemy.

Last night, insurgents attempted to launch a counter-attack seven kilometers from nearby Camp Gannon, in Al Qaim. They attacked a Marine convoy with small arms fire, RPGs, roadside bombs and two suicide car bombers. One car bomb damaged an armored humvee. The second suicide car bomber was destroyed by a Marine M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank. No Marines were killed in the attack. The two car bombers died in the engagement.

Ten insurgents who surrendered to the Marines are at a nearby detention center.

Coalition and Marine Corps aircraft are participating in the operation.
Carbombs are weapons usually used against soft targets - civilians. Their use against a well-armed assault force, and the subsequent surrender by the other members of the counter-attack, suggests growing desperation on the part of the foreign fighters, who had come to view the Anbar province as a safe staging ground for their activities.