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Ear to the Ground

In Brazen Kidnapping, 56 Vanish from Baghdad

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Posted on Jun 5, 2006
Iraqi kidnappings
From the AP via Washington Post

Gunmen wearing police uniforms forced 56 people into pickups during the daytime operation. A Washington Post reporter writes, “The scale and audacity of the operation were unusual even by the capital’s lawless standards.”


Washington Post:

BAGHDAD, June 5—“Turn back,” a friend told Haji Abu Shamaa as he walked Monday morning toward his money-changing shop in the Karkh neighborhood of central Baghdad, a mile north of the heavily guarded Green Zone. “The Interior Ministry police are rounding up people.”

But Shamaa walked on, right into a swift, coordinated operation unfolding within sight of Iraq’s Ministry of Justice. Gunmen in police uniforms and ski masks had cordoned off the street and were swiftly shoving captives, four or five at a time, into a dozen waiting pickup trucks. Fifteen minutes later, the trucks were gone, and so were 56 people.

The roundup displayed all the signs of an unrelenting kidnapping epidemic in Baghdad. Since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, more than 400 foreigners have been abducted in Iraq, but thousands more Iraqis have been snatched from the streets, often by people wearing knockoff police uniforms that are easily purchased at local markets.

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By Mother of US Special Forces Soldier, June 6, 2006 at 10:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In a dispatch posted at 10:30am Makkah time Monday morning, Mafkarat al-Islam reported that at about 7am local time Monday morning an Iraqi Resistance bomb exploded by an American Zeal troop transport vehicle that had entered ar-Ramadi together with a large American military force that began arriving Sunday night.

The ar-Ramadi correspondent for Mafkarat al-Islam reported a source in the Iraqi puppet army as saying that the blast occurred on the main street opposite the al-Qadi Mosque and the al-Yamamah softdrink shop. The Iraqi puppet army source said that the explosion killed five US Marines who had arrived just a day before from Kuwait.

Eyewitnesses told Mafkarat al-Islam that the Zeal troop transport burned for about two hours after the blast, since the Americans left the flaming vehicle without trying to extinguish the fire ignited by the bomb. They did remove the bodies of the five dead Marines and of several more wounded men. A source in the ar-Ramadi municipality offices confirmed the deaths of the five Marines, saying “the armed men in the city met the new soldiers with a bomb that took the lives of five of them and impaired two more.”

Hundreds of fresh American troops, many with long hair, beards, and wearing t-shirts and red headbands rather than uniforms and helmets, pour into al-Anbar province from Kuwait under heavy air cover.

In a dispatch posted at 10:20am Makkah time Monday morning, Mafkarat al-Islam reported that a huge force of hundreds of US troops began moving into al-Anbar province at 3am local time before dawn Monday morning. The columns of American troops had constant air cover from American warplanes as they advanced up the main highway into al-Anbar Province. These are the forces that the United States said it was drawing out of Kuwait to reinforce its beleaguered troops in western Iraq.

Correspondents for Mafkarat al-Islam in Abu Ghurayb, al-Karmah, al-Fallujah, ar-Ramadi, ‘Amiriyat al-Fallujah, and al-Habbaniyah reported that the hundreds of troops are accompanied by dozens of military vehicles of various types.

The correspondents reported that the Americans who are riding in on the vehicles do not resemble the US troops already in al-Anbar Province. They have beards and long hair. Some are not wearing the regular American uniform, a large number of them wearing undershirts and have red bandanas on their heads.

The giant vehicles that the new American troops are driving also differ from those any of the vehicles that the US has brought into the country since it invaded in 2003.

The correspondents reported that a number of those fresh troops settled in al-Fallujah and al-Habbaniyah. A large part of them went into ar-Ramadi where the al-Warrar base is located.

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