Attack on police station in Baghdad

#1
Craaazzzy!

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1513540,00.html

Iraq insurgents snatch victory from defeat

Massive police station assault alarms locals despite retreat

Rory Carroll in Baghdad
Friday June 24, 2005
The Guardian

Dawn had yet to break and Baghdad's biggest police station, like the rest of the city, was quiet. About 80 officers dozed inside the fortress, leaving just a few sentries guarding the walls, razor wire and concrete barriers.
It started with mortars. A series of whooshes from north and south followed seconds later by explosions inside the perimeter. Figures emerged from the gloom and knelt in the middle of Hi al-Elam and Qatar Nada streets, pointing rocket launchers.

More figures materialised on rooftops overlooking the station to spray gunfire and lob grenades. Dozens of gunmen, guerrilla infantry, swarmed from houses and alleys. It was just after 5.30am and the station was surrounded.

The defenders heard engines rev and guessed what was next: suicide car bombers. Baghdad's biggest battle in months - and possibly the boldest yet by insurgents - had begun.

They struck on Monday but details of the assault on Baya'a, a vast police complex in the southern suburbs, emerged only yesterday when American and Iraqi officers opened the station to reporters. Bullet holes and debris testified to a synchronised and audacious strike by up to 100 rebels in what is supposed to be a locked-down capital.

The combination of heavy shelling, diversionary feints, infantry thrusts and suicide vehicles - the "precision-guided" equivalent of tanks - left parts of the district of Hi al-Elam a smoking ruin. If the objective was to overrun the station and free its prisoners the offensive failed. The attackers retreated after two hours, leaving dozens dead and captured. But if the objective was to send a message of power and determination it succeeded.

Residents said their confidence in the government and security forces was severely dented. A rash of graffiti has spread across the area: "We will be back." One taxi driver, a Shia who loathes the mostly Sunni Arab resistance, shrugged. "Yes, they will."

Republicans and Democrats, increasingly worried about Iraq, were due yesterday to quiz Pentagon top brass about a US exit strategy which hinges on building up Iraqi security forces.

On one level the assault at Baya'a was being presented as good news for Washington. "The enemy spent weeks, maybe months planning this," said Lt Col David Funk, a US infantry commander responsible for the area. "They failed spectacularly."

Not since April's attack on Abu Ghraib had there been such a concentration of force in the capital and yet the insurgents were repulsed thanks to the heroism of the beleaguered police officers, he said. But in Baghdad, the fact the insurgents had launched the attack at all was more indicative.

The sentries, pinned down by fire from the rooftops, did not respond when they heard the approaching suicide bombers. One vehicle exploded at the main entrance, killing at least four officers but without breaching the compound.

A nearby Iraqi army base was simultaneously targeted by mortars, gunfire and a suicide bomber, trapping the soldiers inside. Gunmen attacked the police station from four sides and came close to overrunning it. From bases in southern Baghdad US and Iraqi ground troops rushed for Baya'a only to confront insurgents at Derwesh Square and on the Doura highway tasked with slowing the relief force. At least three suicide car bombers had been held back for this purpose.

By 6.30am a police machine-gunner on the roof at Baya'a helped turn the tide, firing volleys which forced attackers to take cover and enabled his comrades to take better positions. Residents of the mixed Shia and Sunni neighbourhood made at least 55 phone calls informing the police of insurgent movements. Some fired on the attackers. An off-duty policeman was caught by insurgents, bundled into the boot of a car and later found beheaded.

The attackers retreated at around 7.30am. At least 10 were killed and 40 captured.

"It was our victory," said the Iraqi commander, Col Khaldoon. But residents, picking their way through rubble that had been homes and shops, disagreed.

Last month the government said Operation Lightning, a sweep of the capital by 40,000 troops, would choke the violence. A spate of explosions in the past two days killed more than 40 people but it was the spectacular but less bloody attack at Baya'a that showed the resistance was still in business.

Videos of the assault will almost certainly surface on the internet, the dramatic images of resistance intended to inspire would-be recruits and demoralise opponents.

Lt Col Funk worried about similarities to the Tet offensive, a 1968 push by North Vietnamese forces which failed militarily but whose scale and surprise gave the impression that the US and its allies were failing. "The media got Tet wrong and they're getting Iraq wrong. We are winning but people won't know that if all they are hearing about is death and violence."
8O
 
#4
The combination of heavy shelling, diversionary feints, infantry thrusts and suicide vehicles - the "precision-guided" equivalent of tanks - left parts of the district of Hi al-Elam a smoking ruin
So just a rag-tag bunch of terrorists and insurgents then? Has anyone in command openly speculated we are fighting the Continuity Iraqi Army here?
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
#5
I guess the amount of air cover available has reduced significantly in the last 2 years.....there were swarms of Marine Cobra Whiskies around back then ..or was it deemed too risky for rotary wing assets ? Sandstorm ?

A TWO hour siege ?

Cheap shot I know....but I hope it wasn't because there were no American lives in danger.....reassure me.....


Le Chevre
 
#6
Have a read of this. Near-identical assault on Abu Ghraib jail a month before. Diversions/delaying actions, indirect fire, assault, three VBIEDs, then everyone broke contact and left after 30mins. So - where does the 1st Battalion, Baghdad Regiment, New-Old Iraqi Army go on the 20th of June?
 
#7
PartTimePongo said:
The combination of heavy shelling, diversionary feints, infantry thrusts and suicide vehicles - the "precision-guided" equivalent of tanks - left parts of the district of Hi al-Elam a smoking ruin
So just a rag-tag bunch of terrorists and insurgents then? Has anyone in command openly speculated we are fighting the Continuation Iraqi Army here?
Lets just say that that amount of organisation and planning (see the stopping force) must have come from a military background. Not even the best terrorists have that much experience...
 
#8
Escape-from-PPRuNe said:
Have a read of this. Near-identical assault on Abu Ghraib jail a month before. Diversions/delaying actions, indirect fire, assault, three VBIEDs, then everyone broke contact and left after 30mins. So - where does the 1st Battalion, Baghdad Regiment, New-Old Iraqi Army go on the 20th of June?
That makes for interesting reading.

"We believe the enemy is ... looking for the opportunity to have large-scale, coordinated attacks," the U.S. military official said.
Is this not exactly what the coalition (Esp the spams) want, as it's the type of warfare that we excel at? The yanks will simply resort to their technological and firepower advantages.

Or will it be a case that the insurgents will continue attacking in large numbers before withdrawing in short order before the yanks can bring their advantages to bear on the enemy?
 
#10
Note that this IS an article from that bastion of "Liberalism"; the Guardian.
They are unlikely to publish something that fails to meet their audiences' preconceptions.
 
#11
Absolutely Oddbod,

So this attack has been dressed up for the readership , and is not a carbon copy of the attack on the station at Ramallah ?

Mind you, there they didn't use suicide bombers , but they did use Mortars , cut-offs , diversions , Infantry style assaults under Machine guns etc. They trashed the place so fast that the US QRF was still getting organised when they bugged.

There was an ambush on the Airport road some time back. Convoy ambushed, gets into ARD , and screams for the QRF . QRF comes bowling down the highway to be ambushed 2 miles out by the cut-offs.

No oddbod, I don't think the Guardian are larging the insurgents for their readership , I think some of the former Iraqi Army have taken up tools again , and I think they are using stupid hothead Islamic extremists as the suicide bombers, and why not?

Baathists are no great lovers of Islamic extremists . So why not allow one to meet the perfumed virgins, if it's going to help in your attacks?

We need to get hold of the nominal roll for the former Iraqi Army quickly. We also need to find out how many of these individuals, were trained at the School of Heroes in the UK or the US , and we need to pull them in for a chat.

The comment was made before Granby by a UK Air Commander, that the Iraqi Air Force had had people come through our system. He commented that most were dross , but a few were very very good by anyone's standards. So why couldn't the same be true of their infantry commanders or SF?

We have become a victim of our own propaganda. The US held the consistent line that these were just foreign insurgents, and the Iraqi people loved us. Absolutely no credence was given to the possibilty that members of the RG , RGSF or the Iraqi Army were still fighting . Did we ever get a formal surrender of the Iraqi Forces?
 
#12
So the insurgents actually failed to storm or destroy the police station and were eventually driven off with heavy casualties? And the Grauniad claims this is a 'victory' for them? A few more insurgent 'victories' like that will do me!
 

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