Wednesday, August 15

War, not terrorism

Two reports on the Tuesday bridge bombing in Iraq show why the war has been so hard to follow from news accounts. Watch carefully; don't blink:
Insurgents hit a bridge north of Baghdad on Tuesday, using a suicide bomber at the wheel of an oil tanker truck to destroy the span, plunging cars and people into the canal waters below. Ten people are reported dead and six more missing.

The Thiraa Dijla bridge in Taji links Baghdad to Mosul, and was reportedly a strategic asset to the US, which relied on it for supply transport
I took those quotes from a compilation of reports of the bridge bombing on the Iraq Slogger site. Now here's a discussion of the bridge bombing from Bill Roggio's Tuesday Iraq Report posted at the Weekly Standard:
Yesterday, Multinational Forces Iraq announced the start of two major operations --Phantom Strike and Lightning Hammer. Operation Phantom Strike “consists of simultaneous operations throughout Iraq focused on pursuing remaining AQI terrorists and Iranian-supported extremist elements,” while Operation Lightning Hammer is directed at al Qaeda in Iraq and allied insurgent groups that escaped Baqubah and are organizing north of the city in the Diyala River Valley.

These operations are the continuation of the Baghdad Security Plan and Phantom Thunder, the operations in Baghdad and the Belts that established a security presence in areas from which Iraqi and Coalition forces were absent throughout 2006.

In a response to Lightning Hammer, al Qaeda in Iraq is attempting to disrupt Coalition supply lines. A suicide bomber detonated a fuel tanker on the Thiraa Dijla Bridge in Taji. [...] The bridge, which was heavily damaged, spans a canal and serves as a vital link from Taji to Diyala province, as well as from Baghdad to Mosul. U.S. and Iraqi forces have been using Taji as a staging point.

While the full scope of Lightning Hammer, which consists of elements of two Iraqi divisions, four U.S. infantry brigades and a U.S. combat air brigade, has yet to be determined, the operations against al Qaeda and the Shia terror cells have picked up the pace over the past week.

Attacking the Iranian-Backed Shia terror cells
The announcement for Operation Phantom Strike made clear that the Iranian-backed elements of the Mahdi Army, as well as the Qods Force-created Special Groups terror cells, are major targets. Since the announcement of Phantom Strike, Iraqi and U.S. troops have hit these Iranian-backed groups especially hard in Baghdad and Najaf, the two strongholds of Muqtada al Sadr and his Mahdi Army.

Read more.

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