[Marxism] Seven marines killed in Anbar province as Fallujah bombing intensifies

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Sun Dec 12 22:39:39 MST 2004


  MSNBC.com

7 U.S. Marines killed in Iraq's Anbar province
Deadly attacks come as military steps up strikes in Fallujah
The Associated Press
Updated: 12:32 a.m. ET Dec. 13, 2004

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Seven U.S. Marines were killed in two separate incidents
in Iraq's Anbar province, a vast region encompassing the battleground
cities of Fallujah and Ramadi, the military said Monday.

It was unknown whether the deaths Sunday were connected to heavy
fighting in Fallujah. American warplanes pounded the city with missiles
as insurgents fought running battles with coalition forces.

On Sunday, the military reported the death of another U.S. Marine in
Anbar.

The seven members of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force died while
conducting "security and stabilization operations" in Anbar, the
military said in a statement.

The statement gave no other details about the deaths, saying the release
of more information could place U.S. personnel at risk. The names of the
dead were withheld pending notification of their families.

As of Monday, at least 1,296 members of the U.S. military have died
since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an
Associated Press count.

Clashes escalate into airstrikes
Fallujah was the scene of a weeklong U.S.-led offensive last month to
uproot insurgents based in the city. U.S. officials had said the
insurgents scattered and they now were planning the return of the
estimated 250,000 people who fled.

The latest violence began with American and Iraqi forces clashing with
guerrillas in several suburbs and ended with U.S. airstrikes on
suspected insurgent hideouts.

"The strikes were conducted throughout the day and were called in by
troops in (armed) contact with and observing the enemy moving from house
to house," spokesman Lt. Lyle Gilbert said.

Fallujah resident Abdullah Ahmed said the fighting started after U.S.
soldiers brought 700-800 men into the city to clear rubble from damage
caused by November's offensive.

"The clashes started as soon as the young men entered the city," Ahmed
said. "The American troops were surprised and decided to launch military
operations."

The military hoped it had routed the insurgents after the Fallujah
invasion, but the latest attacks suggest they may be trickling back into
the city.In other developments:
# Iraqi Red Crescent Society workers began returning Sunday to Fallujah
with food, water and medical aid after withdrawing Dec. 5 because of
security concerns.
# Elsewhere, two insurgents died after detonating their
explosives-packed car Sunday morning alongside a U.S. M1 Abrams battle
tank in Tikrit, 80 miles north of Baghdad, said Staff Sgt. Robert
Powell, a military spokesman. No soldiers were wounded, and the tank
sustained negligible damage.
# Four decapitated bodies in civilian clothes were found south of
Baghdad, their identities unclear, police said. The victims, believed to
be Iraqis, were found in Haswa, about 25 miles south of the capital.

Massive power failure
Meanwhile, a large swath of Iraq lost electricity Sunday after a fire
erupted in a major power plant north of Baghdad. Prime Minister Ayad
Allawi called the fire an accident, but he accused guerrillas of hurting
Iraqis with attacks on infrastructure.

The capital went dark about 4 p.m. (8 a.m. ET), and power was still out
at 7 p.m. The only lights came from the Green Zone and a few other
places that have their own generators.

Witnesses in several other parts of the country - including Basra to the
south and Najaf to the southwest - also reported having no power.

The fire at the Beiji power plant, 155 miles north of Baghdad, was
probably an accident, Allawi said on a live call-in show on Iraqiya
television.

"I'd like to say that, unfortunately, some forces working to hurt the
country don't make a distinction in their attacks," he said.

"They strike the economic positions and the infrastructure network in a
way that harms the whole Iraqi society," he added. "Whenever we make
progress in [the fields] of oil and electricity, there are attacks that
hinder this progress."

Allawi said that once the fire erupted, the Electricity Ministry shut
down stations linked to the plant as a precaution. He said that the fire
had been extinguished and that power was slowly being restored.

Power failures are common in Iraq, where the U.S.-led invasion further
weakened infrastructure debilitated by years of U.N. sanctions. U.S.
engineers are doing repair work, but major reconstruction has yet to
begin.
C 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not
be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6692775/





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