Monday, April 09, 2007

Perspective: Assault on an Iraqi village

Iraqi siblings watch 2 soldiers during a search of their house in Baqubah three weeks before the raid.

The attack on Qubah opened in the hours before dawn March 24 with the sounds of a flotilla of helicopters thundering through the darkness over the river valley outside Baqubah. At about 4 a.m. local time, seven Chinooks, four Blackhawks and two Apache gunships rose as one from Forward Operating Base Warhorse, the main U.S. military base in Baqubah. Moments later, the helicopters descended on Qubah, a village at the northern edge of the river valley used by insurgents as a safe haven.

The helicopters barely touched the ground at the edge of Qubah long enough for 241 soldiers to leap out and begin moving into the town to go house to house in search of insurgents as artillery fire shattered trees in the surrounding palm groves. At the same time, a convoy of 19 Humvees, two Bradley tanks and several other vehicles rumbled toward Qubah from the opposite end. Gunfights broke out as soon as U.S. troops from the air assault reached Qubah's ruddy streets, with insurgents letting machine guns loose from several buildings. One U.S. soldier took a burst of fire in the chest at virtually point-blank range that knocked him on his back. But his body armor saved him from serious injury, and a moment later he was up after emptying his own weapon into the gunmen while on his back.

Read the rest at Time