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Lets's talk about democracy
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Sunday, 12 September 2004
We've got a plan? (It's all under control, really.)

The A.P.

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Insurgents hammered central Baghdad on Sunday with one of their most intense mortar and rocket barrages ever in the heart of the capital, heralding a day of violence that left at least 25 people dead in the city as security appeared to spiral out of control.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell acknowledged that the U.S.-led coalition faces a "difficult time" in Iraq but said the United States has a plan to quash the insurgency and bring those areas under control in time for national elections in January.

The insurgency "will be brought under control," Powell said on NBC's "Meet The Press." "It's not an impossible task."

Powell did not elaborate on the plan for addressing the insurgency, but senior U.S. officials in Iraq have spoken of a multi-pronged strategy involving overtures to tribal leaders, economic incentives and the use of force as the best way to prevail against an evermore determined resistance.

{So what are they wating for?]

Rockets and mortars began raining down before dawn on the Green Zone, headquarters of the Iraqi government and its U.S. allies, and other parts of central Baghdad. As the shelling continued after sunrise, U.S. troops backed by armored vehicles moved into the streets searching for the attackers.

A Bradley fighting vehicle rushing down Haifa Street, a major traffic artery near the Green Zone, to assist a U.S. patrol disabled by a car bomb about 6:50 a.m., the U.S. military said. Two Bradley crewmen were wounded in the attack and four more were injured by grenade and small arms fire as they fled the vehicle, the military said.

Jubilant fighters, curiosity seekers and young boys swarmed around the burning vehicle, dancing, cheering and hurling firebombs. Several young men placed a black and yellow banner of Tawhid and Jihad in the barrel of the Bradley's main gun.

Fearing the crowd would loot the vehicle of weapons and ammunition, the Americans called for air support, and as U.S. Army helicopters flew over the burning Bradley "they received small-arms fire from the insurgents in vicinity of the vehicle," a military statement said.

The helicopters "fired upon the anti-Iraqi forces and the Bradley preventing the loss of sensitive equipment and weapons," the military said in a statement. "An unknown number of insurgents and Iraq civilians were wounded or killed in the incident," which is under investigation.

Health Ministry official Saad al-Amili said 13 people were killed and 61 wounded on Haifa street, though it was not clear how many were killed in the helicopter strike. Scattered shoes, pools of fresh blood and debris littered the street.

"We were standing near the destroyed vehicle when the helicopter started firing, so we rushed to safety in a nearby building," Alaa Hassan, 24, said from his hospital bed. "I went back to the scene to help the wounded people when the helicopter fired again and I was hit in the chest."

Another 12 people died and 41 injured Sunday in other violence across the city, al-Amili said.

Elsewhere, gunmen attacked a group of policemen in the northern city of Mosul, killing one and wounding seven, police said.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 2:47 PM EDT
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