Iraq: 8,000 killed in 6 months
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Insurgent attacks in the last six months have killed more than 8,000 Iraqi civilians, police and troops, according to Iraq's
Meanwhile Thursday, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad said the Iraqi insurgency had probably reached its "high water mark" over the past 12
In an interview with CNN, Iraqi Interior Minister Baqir Jabbur said "terrorists" had killed 8,175 people and wounded another 12,000 since January
According to the U.S. Department of Defense, there have been 307 U.S. fatalities in combat during the same period.
Jabbur said he was optimistic about the recent strides made by Iraqi security forces and predicted victory in the war against insurgents.
"We have a plan, and I think we need some months and we can get results ... We are surrounding the insurgency," he said.
Unofficial estimates of Iraqi civilian deaths during the Iraq war range from about 22,000 -- according to the Web site iraqbodycount.net -- to about
100,000 -- from an independent survey reported in The Washington Post. The Pentagon does not give numbers for civilian deaths in Iraq.
Jabbur said he believed the U.S. has enough troops deployed in Iraq. He said Wednesday the focus needed to remain on the training of more Iraqi troops
Jabbur said the Iraqi-led counterinsurgency operation dubbed "Operation Lightning" has so far yielded 1,500 arrests of suspected insurgents around
Baghdad. Of those, 500 have been released, Interior Ministry officials said.
He said Iraqi and American troops were poised to start a second phase of the operation, extending the reach of the campaign to a 60-kilometer
(38-mile) radius around Baghdad.
Jabbur's office is in charge of Iraq's police force, which he said now numbers about 67,000.
The ministry hopes to recruit a total of 200,000, but financial restraints are complicating efforts to outfit them with weapons and equipment, he
On Thursday, U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen Donald Alston said he believed fighters remained a potent, adaptive force and the lethal car bombings that have
plagued Baghdad and other places in recent weeks, "will continue in Iraq for a period of time."
"The payoff that the enemy gets for this particular weapons system is still attractive. And our ability to adapt and challenge him has continued to
improve and we're seeing some success," Alston said.
Speaking in a news conference, Alston reminded reporters that Iraq on Tuesday entered its first year of sovereignty and said the country has made
political progress and strides in developing security forces.
The questions he fielded largely dealt with the strength of the insurgency and the ability of the Iraqis to build forces to counter the tenacious
rebellion, which went into full swing not long after U.S. President George W. Bush on May 1, 2003 declared an end to the major phase of the war in
Asked to make comparisons about the insurgency's effectiveness between last June and this June, he said he thought "there was a serious ebbing and
flowing of the insurgency over the course of year."
"We found an insurgency that was aggressive in several cities, frankly culminating in Falluja back in November," he said, referring to the U.S.-led
offensive in November that destroyed the insurgency safe haven in the Anbar city.
"At that time, the attack levels were in the 900s per week. There was some ability of the insurgency and the terrorists to surge for the elections
because of just how much that loss was going to mean to them.
"We have seen nothing like those levels of attacks to date since that time frame. So I think that the ability of the enemy to sustain high-volume
attacks is just something that we haven't seen them to be able to reconstitute."
Alston noted the insurgents' reliance on a car bombing strategy lately, what he calls a "distinctive shift." That began when the new transitional
government was announced at the end of May.
"We have seen this spring a move toward car bombs because of the high payoffs," said Alston.
Alston also pointed out that the insurgents "don't score every time they employ" a car bombing or a suicide car bombing, noting efficient
procedures to interdict such strikes, detaining suspected bombmakers, and poor bomb-production quality.
Tal Afar attacks
A police officer and three civilians died on Wednesday in two insurgent attacks in northern Iraq, the U.S. military in Mosul said Thursday.
Gunmen dressed as Iraqi soldiers fatally shot a police officer and two of his family members at his home in central Mosul.
In Tal Afar, a civilian died and five other people were wounded in a mortar strike.
There has been other deadly violence in Tal Afar this week, the military said.
On Wednesday, soldiers killed two armed insurgents during a patrol. On Tuesday, a child and three other civilians died and 21 others were wounded in a
Tal Afar mortar attack.
And on Monday, five insurgents and an Iraqi soldier died in a firefight that began when insurgents in a mosque machine-gunned an Iraqi army convoy.
Two insurgents and two soldiers were wounded.
CNN Correspondent Jennifer Eccleston contributed to this report.