Author Topic: Black Watch troops chase Fallujah fugitives  (Read 1594 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


  • Guest
Black Watch troops chase Fallujah fugitives
« on: November 24, 2004, 08:59:09 »

Black Watch troops chase Fallujah fugitives
By Toby Harnden in Baghdad and David Harrison at Camp Dogwood
(Filed: 24/11/2004)

Troops from the Black Watch battle group were taking part in a major American-led offensive last night. The attack aimed to round up Sunni fighters who fled from Fallujah before the city was seized back from insurgents.

Five thousand troops were involved in the action close to the notorious "triangle of death" south of Baghdad, where the Black Watch troops were sent from Basra at America's request.
American troops in Iraq
American marines return to their base in Yusufiyah aboard a heavily armoured truck

The US military said the 850 British troops had been brought north "to squeeze militants attempting to run the rat lines between northern Babil and Baghdad and al Anbar provinces", particularly those leaving Fallujah.

Early-morning raids captured about 32 suspected insurgents, including several men believed to be senior figures in the insurgency. The offensive was launched in Jabella, close to the city of Hillah, on a road linking two main highways south of Baghdad.

US marines provided the bulk of the forces but British troops were playing a prominent role alongside Iraqi troops, whose performance has been mixed in previous engagements.
American marines house clearing in Fallujah
American infrantry clear a house of insurgents in Fallujah

Four British soldiers have been killed and 14 injured since the Black Watch group, which includes 105 members of the Queen's Dragoon Guards and a small number of Royal Marines, began its controversial re-deployment on Nov 3. British involvement in the latest operation increases the risk of further casualties, which would embarrass Tony Blair.

A US statement said that insurgent attacks had intensified in northern Babil - where the British are based at Camp Dogwood - during the Fallujah offensive "in an apparent effort to divert attention from the high-profile battle west of Baghdad".

Insurgents last night fired two rockets at British soldiers at Camp Dogwood. The missiles, fired from the south, caused no casualties or damage. The attacks came within five minutes of each other at about 5pm in the first assault on British troops for two days.

The troops were moved up from their regular base in Basra primarily to block off insurgents' supply and escape routes during the American attack on Fallujah.

They have also started pushing into the eastern side of the Euphrates, trying to "win hearts and minds" and gather information about the hardcore Saddam loyalists who are believed to have huge stockpiles of weapons.

The latest operation is one of a series of post-Fallujah battles designed to capitalise on the disarray sewn among the insurgents.

Elections are due to be held on Jan 30 but the once-dominant Sunni Arab minority feels threatened by the formerly-oppressed Shia majority. US military planners believe ordinary Sunnis want to vote but are afraid to do so because of the insurgents.