Mourners on Friday carry the coffin of one of 19 people reported killed in a clash between U.S. troops and militants in eastern Baghdad the day before.
In a startling rejoinder to President Bush’s rosy report of progress in Iraq, and the possibility of “success” in this war, whatever that means, six policemen were killed in a clash between U.S. troops and Iraqi police—reflecting growing concerns about the infiltration of militants into Iraq’s police force.
In addition to the six police officers, seven gunmen were also killed in Friday’s clash in eastern Baghdad, sparked when U.S. troops arrested a police lieutenant, the American military said in a statement. It said the lieutenant was believed to be helping Iran organize Shiite militants and leading a cell involved in bomb and mortar attacks on U.S. and Iraqi troops.
The U.S. military has accused Iran of arming Shiite extremists drawn from the ranks of militias and organizing them into a network to carry out attacks on the troops. Friday’s statement, however, was the first time the military has spoken of the Iranian efforts extending into the Iraqi police. It was unclear whether the lieutenant was a militiaman who joined the police or a policeman who later joined the militia.