Wire: With Combat Over, US Troops Battle in Baghdad
Off the Wire:
WASHINGTON, Sept. 5, 2010 -- Newswire services this evening reported that just days after President Barack Obama touted the end of U.S. combat operations and Iraq's ability to defend itself, American troops found themselves battling heavily armed militants assaulting an Iraqi military headquarters in the center of Baghdad on Sunday.
The fighting killed 12 people and wounded dozens, AP said.
It was the first exchange of fire involving U.S. troops in Baghdad since the Aug. 31 deadline for formally ending the combat mission, and it showed that American troops remaining in the country are still being drawn into the fighting.The number of U.S. troops has fallen from a high of 170,000 to just under 50,000 this August; all U.S. troops must be out of Iraq by 2012, AP noted.
The attack also made plain the kind of lapses in security that have left Iraqis wary of the U.S. draw-down and distrustful of the ability of Iraqi forces now taking up ultimate responsibility for protecting the country.
Sunday's hour-long assault was the second in as many weeks on the facility, the headquarters for the Iraqi Army's 11th Division, pointing to the failure of Iraqi forces to plug even the most obvious holes in their security.
(Report from newswire sources.)