The Washington Post reported January 22nd that five American soldiers were killed in Karbala, Iraq when they came under attack by insurgents wearing U.S. military uniforms. According to the Post, the vehicles used in the attack were armored sport-utility vehicles that drove in the same patterns as most Americans do.
The report said that “Iraqi guards at checkpoints waved them through Saturday afternoon because the men wore what appeared to be legitimate U.S. military uniforms and badges, and drove cars commonly used by foreigners,” quoting the Iraqi provincial governor.
After gaining access to the compound, the Post says, “…the men unleashed one of the deadliest and most brazen attacks on U.S. forces in a secure area. Five American service members were killed in a hail of grenades and gunfire in a breach of security that Iraqi officials called unprecedented.”
The report said the insurgent attack lasted about 20 minutes, and occurred on the third deadliest day for American troops in Iraq. According to the Post, representatives of the U.S. military would not comment on the Karbala attack because they were still investigating what had happened to allow the security breach. The report added, though, that the American officials did say the sequence of events relayed by the provincial governor was consistent with the initial findings of the investigation.
Giving more detail about the attack, the Post says, “After arriving at the Provincial Joint Coordination Center in Karbala, 60 miles southwest of Baghdad, the attackers detonated sound bombs,” according to Iraqi officials. “They wanted to create a panic situation,” an aide to Governor Akeel al-Khazaali is quoted as saying.
According to the report, the insurgents charged into a room full of Americans and Iraqis as part of the attack. The Post quotes the governor’s aide as saying, “They didn’t target anyone but the American soldiers.”
Once the attack was completed, the Post says, “…the assailants returned to their vehicles and drove away” toward the city of Babil.
“The way it happened and the new style, the province has not seen before,” Abdul al-Yasri, head of the Karbala provincial council, is quoted as saying. “And this will make us insist on carrying on the security procedures even on official delegates and diplomats when they are coming to Karbala province.”
Information for this article was obtained from “Disguises Used in Attack on Troops,” by Ernesto Londono, Washington Post Staff Writer, published January 22, 2007 in the Washington Post.