Sunday, May 24, 2009

Wire: US Military Says Violence Still Plagues Mosul

Off the Wire

Off the Wire:

WASHINGTON, May 24, 2009 -- Newswire services reported this afternoon that, while high-profile attacks in Iraq have fallen nearly 50 percent in May, the U.S. military said Sunday that violence continues to plague the northern city of Mosul, where a suicide car bomber targeting an American convoy killed one Iraqi and wounded 45 others.

Mosul is considered the last urban stronghold of al-Qaida in Iraq, and Sunday's attack comes as military operations are being conducted there before a June 30 deadline for U.S. forces to pull out of Iraq's cities, the Associated Press reported.

The Iraqi government has said the withdrawal deadline will not be extended, despite increasing concerns of U.S. military commanders.

AP reported the following details:
U.S. military spokesman Maj. Gen. David Perkins said Sunday that high-profile attacks -- those involving a high number of casualties -- have fallen 58 percent from last March and more than 50 percent from a month ago.

There were 28 high-profile attacks in April and 13 so far this month, Perkins said. Those April attacks killed about 235 people and raised fears that the security gains of the past two years were eroding.

Iraqi military spokesman, Maj. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi, insisted Iraq's security forces were ready to take over as U.S. forces leave Iraq's cities.

"We are confident that Iraqi security forces are able to eliminate the remaining terrorist groups despite desperate acts by them to destabilize the situation," he told reporters during a joint U.S.-Iraqi briefing in Baghdad.

Perkins said the two sides were still working out the details of the June 30 withdrawal, but said some U.S. noncombat personnel would remain inside Iraq's cities.

"It is justified to be concerned because, historically, transition has been a vulnerable period," he said.
Perkins said the two sides were working closely to try to minimize attacks during the transition.

Despite numerous U.S.-Iraqi military operations, Sunni insurgents remain active in Mosul, 225 miles (360 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad, and in Diyala province south of Mosul, AP said.

(Report from newswire sources.)

U.S. Says Attacks in Iraq Are Down 50% So Far in May
US military: Iraq attacks down nearly 60 percent

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