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Archive for Wednesday, December 1, 2004

Iraqi leader rules out contact with insurgents

December 1, 2004

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— Insurgents targeted U.S. troops Tuesday in Baghdad and in and around Beiji, a city north of the capital, killing four Iraqi civilians and wounding at least 20 other people, including three U.S. soldiers. Three Iraqi children aged 3, 4 and 5 were killed when two mortar rounds struck their neighborhood in Baqouba, the U.S. military said.

The attacks came as the U.S. military announced that its November death toll reached at least 135. That figure equaled the highest number of U.S. deaths in a single month since the Iraq war began in March 2003.

Also Tuesday, Iraq's interim prime minister went to Jordan for meetings with tribal figures and other influential Iraqis in a bid to encourage Sunni Muslims to participate in the Jan. 30 elections, but he ruled out contacts with insurgent leaders and former members of Saddam Hussein's deposed regime.

Prime Minister Ayad Allawi sought to play down expectations that his meetings in Amman would mark a breakthrough in curbing the violence, saying Jordan was simply the first stop on a tour that would take him to Germany and Russia.

Before leaving Baghdad, Allawi said his government would pursue contacts with "tribal figures" and other influential Iraqis to encourage broad participation in the elections, which some Sunni clerics have threatened to boycott.

But Allawi branded reports that he would meet with former Baath party figures as "an invention by the media," although word of such contacts came last week from the Iraqi Foreign Ministry. Former Baath party leaders are believed to form the core of the insurgency.

In the suicide attack, police Capt. Talib al-Alawani said a bomber drove his car into a U.S. convoy on the airport road, scene of near daily attacks against U.S. military and Western targets. The U.S. command confirmed that the attack occurred but had no further details.

A U.S. Army 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry soldier patrols in Mosul,
Iraq. Fueled by fierce fighting in Fallujah and insurgents'
counterattacks elsewhere in Iraq, the U.S. military death toll for
November has reached at least 135.

A U.S. Army 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry soldier patrols in Mosul, Iraq. Fueled by fierce fighting in Fallujah and insurgents' counterattacks elsewhere in Iraq, the U.S. military death toll for November has reached at least 135.

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