Tuesday, September 13, 2005

U.S. Raids Militant Stronghold in Iraq

U.S. Forces Raid Stronghold in Iraq, Capturing al-Qaida Militant, Killing Four Others
U.S. forces widened their operations against insurgents in northern Iraq on Tuesday, launching an attack on the Euphrates River stronghold of Haditha only days after evicting militants from Tal Afar. Residents also reported American air strikes in the same region near Qaim.
The Americans called in bombing raids in Haditha, 140 miles northwest of the capital. They captured one militant with ties to al-Qaida in Iraq and killed four others.
In the volatile city of Qaim, about 80 miles northwest of Haditha, residents said clashes broke out between insurgents and coalition forces. The U.S. military did not confirm the air strike.In the south, a roadside bomb killed four people near Basra an attack that was a twin to a deadly bombing in the area last week. Iraqi police said the dead were four American contract workers, but U.S. officials were unable to confirm the nationalities of the victims. Last Wednesday, a roadside bomb near Basra hit a passing convoy of U.S. diplomatic security guards, killing four Americans.
President Jalal Talabani, meanwhile, said in Washington that Iraq would not set a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops, declaring at a news conference with President Bush that the American force still was needed. The Bush administration is under increasing pressure at home to set a date to begin pulling out the 140,000 U.S. troops.
"We will set no timetable for withdrawal. A timetable will help the terrorists," Talabani said. He said he hoped Iraqi security forces could take responsibility for the country by the end of 2006.


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