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Archive for Saturday, December 13, 2003

In Iraq, U.S. draws on Israeli tactics

December 13, 2003

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— In fighting insurgents in Iraq, the United States is drawing on some of Israel's methods and experiences in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, including running checkpoints and tracking militants with drone aircraft, Israeli officials say.

Israeli and U.S. security experts have met repeatedly in recent months to discuss urban warfare and Israel's lessons from its grueling three-year fight against Palestinian militants.

In public comments, Israeli and U.S. officials acknowledge "strategic cooperation" and confirm high-level meetings, the most recent one last week in Tel Aviv. However, they play down the contacts as routine, apparently for fear the Arab world will be outraged.

Recent U.S. methods in Iraq increasingly mimic those Israel uses in the West Bank and Gaza -- setting up impromptu checkpoints, keeping militants on the defensive with frequent arrest raids and, in at least one case, encircling a village and distributing travel permits.

An Israeli security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Israel had briefed the U.S. military on its frequent use of drones, or unmanned reconnaissance aircraft, which allow officers at Israeli military headquarters to watch operations in real time.

Israel uses drones to monitor targeted killings, often helicopter missile attacks on fugitives' cars. Israel has killed at least 117 terror suspects and 88 bystanders in targeted attacks.

The Israeli security official said Israel had taught the U.S. military how to make use of intelligence information within minutes to attack a moving target. The U.S. military has not formally adopted targeted killings, though some wanted Iraqis have been killed in arrest raids.

A U.S. Army officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, said U.S. troops tried to stay clear of methods that looked like collective punishment. Israel routinely demolishes the family homes of Palestinian attackers in hopes of deterring future attacks.

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