Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Report: Up to 75 mortar/rocket rounds hit in or near Camp Echo before retaliatory airstrike which killed civilians in Diwaniyah

Above: U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers operating out of Camp Echo engage in a firefight with militia forces during Operation Jackal in Diwaniyah in June.

As many as 75 mortar and rocket rounds struck a U.S. base and nearby neighborhoods as fierce fighting erupted south of Baghdad, the U.S. military said Tuesday.

According to military officials, the insurgent attack started around 2 a.m. Monday, when “Camp Echo and nearby residents of Diwaniyah suffered a barrage of indiscriminate mortar fire and rocket attacks from insurgents operating in the Al Jumuri district.”

About 25 rounds struck inside the perimeter of Camp Echo, wounding three soldiers, officials said. The estimated 50 other rounds landed outside the base, but within populated areas of the city. There were no immediate reports of civilian casualties.

During the barrage, the U.S. military called on a pair of F-16 attack jets to bomb the suspected launch sites.

“The bulk of the attacks were conducted from Salim Street, where insurgents persistently use urban areas from which to attack, in order to use civilians as human shields,” a U.S. military statement read. “Coalition forces are reviewing the incident to ensure that appropriate and proportionate force was used in responding to the intense attack.”

Read the rest at Stars and Stripes

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