The Iraqi capital on Tuesday experienced some of the worst fighting since the intensified Baghdad security plan began nearly two months ago, as militants and residents in the neighborhood of Fadhil fought a fierce daylong battle with the Iraqi Army and the American soldiers assisting them.This appears to be the largest battle of the security crackdown so far. The fighting appears to have raged most of the day, and though this article and others are unclear, the fighting has probably abated since it's now night in Iraq.
There were conflicting reports about the death toll from the confrontation in Fadhil. The United States military said seven people were killed and many more were wounded, including 16 American soldiers. But neighborhood residents reported far higher fatalities and asserted that local gunmen had destroyed five Iraqi Army Humvees.
The fighting damaged an Apache helicopter, the United States military said in a statement.
Fadhil had been an area that Shiite militias attempted to dominate, starting last winter. In response, neighborhood residents started a local guard patrol. But militant insurgents came into the area and, following a pattern seen throughout Sunni Arab areas of Baghdad, the neighborhood patrol gradually merged with the insurgency.
Many people are now afraid to enter Fadhil because they fear the Sunni insurgents operating there.
Fighting began on Tuesday just past dawn when the Iraqis and the American began a cordon-and-search operation, according both to local residents and the American military. The Iraqi Army raided a mosque and killed two men in front of the other worshippers at the early morning prayer, according to the residents and the Sunni Muslim Scholars Association.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
A cordon imposed as part of the security operation in Baghdad provoked fierce fighting between Iraqi and American forces and Sunni insurgents: