Iraqi troops, backed by U.S. forces stormed a Sunni Muslim Mosque right after Friday prayers had ended. The mosque located in Baghdad has long been
associated with anti American activity. According to witnesses at least 3 people were killed and over 40 were taken prisoner. Another raid in the city
of Mosul occurred overnight and targeted a hospital that was believed to be sheltering insurgents. Three people were arrested in that raid.
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraqi forces, backed by U.S. soldiers, stormed one of the major Sunni Muslim mosques in Baghdad after Friday prayers, opening fire
and killing at least three people, witnesses said. Another raid overnight at a hospital allegedly used by insurgents in Mosul led to three arrests,
the military said.
About 40 people were arrested at the Abu Hanifa mosque in the capital's northwestern Azamiyah neighborhood, according to the witnesses, who were
members of the congregation. Another five people were wounded.
It appeared the raid at Abu Hanifa mosque, long associated with anti-American activity, was part of the crackdown on Sunni clerical militants launched
in parallel with military operations against the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah.
On Thursday, the Iraqi government warned that Islamic clerics who incite violence will be considered as "participating in terrorism." A number of them
already have been arrested, including several members of the Sunni clerical Association of Muslim Scholars which spoke out against the U.S.-led
offensive against Fallujah.
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The raids come in the face of an increasingly violent insurgency. The U.S. and Iraqi forces are attempting to put down the insurgents in time for the
upcoming elections. It has become clear that this process will take some time and is unlikely to be finalized in time for the elections. What effect
this will have on them remains to be seen.
Good. They learned from Fallujah that the insurgents
use mosques, hospitals, and schools as weapons depots
and staging areas. So now we go into those places
and clean out the trash, with as little disruption to the
civilian population as possible. This is good.
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