Friday, March 02, 2007

U.S.-Iraqi forces target Sunni neighborhoods in artillery barrages in Baghdad

An Iraqi defense source says the shellings were targetted at the districts of Bo'aitha and Arab Jbour. Above: U.S. soldiers in Bo'aitha shortly after the invasion in 2003. No word was given on the impetus for the artillery barrages, how many civilians were in the areas at the time, or on any casualties.

Many Sunni neighborhoods in and around Baghdad were rocked Thursday night by dozens of loud explosions. They were being shelled by the U.S. military and its Iraqi partners, as they launched the biggest operation yet in their two-week-old security crackdown aimed at stopping widespread killing in Iraq's capital.

The military said it would send in ground troops to follow up on the artillery attacks on makeshift car bomb factories.

If the Americans hit their intended targets is unclear. As of Friday morning, there was scant news on the explosions and none on whether there were casualties. The targeted neighborhoods are unsafe for Westerners and many Iraqis.

But the shelling could cause political fallout given Sunni allegations that the security crackdown unfairly targets them. The U.S. military says it's Sunni groups who set most of the car bombs.

"I think that (with) this kind of amount of fire power deployed against the Sunni neighborhood, everyone is going to be looking," says analyst John Pike, from

Read the rest at NPR

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