BAGHDAD, June 16 (IslamOnline.net) – The U.S. occupation forces in Iraq launched a new manhunt for what they dubbed Saddam’s loyalists in the restive towns and villages in the north and west of Baghdad, as five U.S. soldiers, two seriously, were injured Sunday, June15 , in a fresh resistance operation that coincided with a statement released by the Iraqi resistance and circulated in Baghdad’s mosques and streets.
“Iraqis should stay away from occupation soldiers, tanks and armored vehicles, to allow our fighting cells to carry out their martyr operations without leaving civilian casualties,” read the resistance, vowing to keep its operations up and running.
“We will not feel guilty if any of those accompanying – or collaborating with – the Americans were killed,” it added.
U.S. Central Command said that it launched on Sunday a fresh mission, Operation Desert Scorpion “designed to identify and defeat selected Baath party loyalists, terrorist organizations and criminal elements”.
It followed last week’s operation, codenamed Peninsula Strike, in which U.S. troops raided suspected militia hideouts in the river plains around northern Iraqi city of Balad, leaving more than 100 people dead and scores detained.
The U.S. forces accused those loyalists of launching hostile attacks and ambushes that left some 40 of their soldiers dead since May 1 – the same day U.S. President George W. Bush declared an end to the invasion of Iraq that opened its salvoes on May20 .
Five American soldiers were injured Sunday in an ambush against a U.S. military convoy north of Baghdad.
Witnesses told IslamOnline.net that at least five soldiers were evacuated after some of them were burnt in their smoldering tanks in the attack by rocket-propelled grenades and anti-shield bombs.
Reinforcement was deployed for a massive manhunt for the attackers, as inhabitants were furious over the ensuing provocative and aggressive practices by the occupation forces, eyewitnesses added.
“They killed more than 30 of our sons without any reasons during their manhunt and search campaign of our houses,” said Abu Nizar, a leader of a tribe inhabited down the road between Balad and Baghdad.
“Do they think that Iraqis could bow out to humiliation and lay down on the ground naked and hand-tied before their wives and children,” wondered Abu Nizar, with an apparent expression of challenge.
“It is much better to die, or act in revenge,” he vowed.
With a poor security situation, tough living conditions and U.S. military inaction to restore order to the war-torn country and put a national representative government at the helm, Iraqis felt that most of Washington’s rosy promises have vanished into thin air.
U.S. forces refused calls by many Iraqis to pack up and leave until they end the vestiges of the former regime in the oil-rich country. Inhabits felt skeptical, even as no weapons of mass destruction, the main justification for launching the invasion, have been found so far.
Sheikh Abdullah, a tribe leader in the Desert Area near al-Mosayyeb, some80 kilometers to the south of Baghdad said that resistance fighters attacked the camp used by the U.S. forces for armored vehicles and Apache helicopter gunships in the city, on Thursday, June12 .
It was the first attack on the U.S. forces in a Shiite majority district, in which two Apache helicopter gunships were destroyed and 20 American soldiers injured, eyewitnesses in the area said.
They added that the U.S. military gagged news about another attack in Dulaiya, 90 kilometers to the north of Baghdad in which seven U.S. soldiers, including a general, were killed.
The resistance fighters identified the vehicle carrying the general, and launched on it three rocket-propelled grenade (RPGs), leaving all of its occupiers burnt to death, according to eyewitnesses.
The U.S. forces reacted with indiscriminate shooting at inhabitants and house-to-house searches and detentions of civilians.
“The U.S. soldiers shot dead resident Hashim Al-Anni when he refused to allow them into his house,” said Mohamed al-Mahdi, a baker’s owner.
Many Iraqi accused the occupation forces of paying no respect for their customs and morals.
Ironically, the occupation forces detained 395 people at a barbed area in a grave where the victims of the U.S.-British invasion were buried in the city.
In the meantime, the U.S. forces increased patrols in Baghdad, imposing a curfew on the town from 11 pm on Sunday to Monday dawn, leaving residents sleepless with the shuddering sound of tank fire and light bombs.
Traffic was clogged down at the heart of the town, with tight car checks and exaggerated frisking, let alone other provocative actions against the local inhabitants.