|現在地 HOME > 掲示板 > 戦争３６ > 455.html ★阿修羅♪||
July 02, 2003
'This is what the Iraqis think of us,' said the captain, cradling a charred helmet
By Daniel McGrory
A drive-by rocket attack is the latest tactic to be used against the Americans in Baghdad
IN A most audacious attack on American troops, an Iraqi fired a rocket-propelled grenade from the sunroof of a Chevrolet car at a passing patrol yesterday, incinerating one of the army vehicles and seriously wounding four of those travelling in the convoy.
Until now, the 22 Americans killed since President Bush declared the war over on May Day had mainly been victims of snipers or crude booby-trap bombs.
However, yesterday's attack in northern Baghdad was reckless and inventive, and is an alarming demonstration of how organised and determined the Iraqi resistance is becoming.
Witnesses spoke of seeing two men appear through the sunroof of the white saloon with blacked-out windows and take aim with the shoulder-held rocket, launching it at the convoy from no more than 60ft away.
Sifting through what little remained of the burnt Humvee, a young infantry captain did not even try to hide his disgust as he picked up the charred helmet belonging to one of his comrades who had been inside the vehicle.
"This is what the Iraqis think of us," the captain said, stamping out the last of the fires after the daylight attack at a busy crossroads. The Americans in the second Humvee had dived for cover, fearing that they too would be ambushed.
Within minutes, armoured reinforcements had sealed off the road and did what they could for the injured, before making a swift retreat and leaving lumps of wreckage at the mercy of gleeful trophy hunters.
What is worrying is that in suburbs such as al-Mustansiriya, a moderate, middle class enclave of academics and businessmen, there was little apparent sympathy for the victims.
Mohammed Alawi, 19, who claimed to have seen the attack, said: "What do the Americans expect after what they have done to us? There will be more attacks like this until they leave."
As the American rescue force accelerated away, the looters moved in, stealing metal parts of the Humvee's chassis and half a camouflaged flak jacket that was badly burnt.
Two teenagers encouraged television crews to film a grotesque dummy that they made from a charred Kevlar helmet, the remains of a soldier's body armour and a long blonde wig they fashioned from the stuffing ripped from one of the Humvee's seats.
Jabar Khadoum, a 49-year-old father of five who witnessed the attack, said: "I froze as I watched the Humvee arc into the air and crash back down on to the road." His body was shaking with shock.
Mr Khadoum said he tried to help one of the Americans who ran at him, half his upper body on fire. "It was hopeless," he said. "Soon his face was eaten by the flames."
Less than 24 hours after Donald Rumsfeld, the US Defence Secretary, insisted that Iraq was not a new Vietnam, a day of spiralling violence saw at least four serious armed assaults on US patrols.
Two US soldiers were wounded in a rocket attack on their convoy near Baghdad airport and other American soldiers were said to have been injured in a shooting at Samarra.
Ten Iraqis were killed in an explosion inside a mosque in the troubled town of Fallujah, which local people blamed on a US airstrike. The Americans said it was caused by terrorists who blew themselves up in an illegal bomb factory.
Later in Fallujah thousands of Iraqis chanted anti-American slogans as they buried victims of the blast, including the imam, Sheikh Laith Khalil.
The US military, which has about 156,000 soldiers in Iraq, has carried out several operations to stamp out attacks. The latest, Operation Desert Sidewinder, began on Sunday with infantry backed by aircraft and armoured vehicles.
Rival Iraqi groups are also increasingly turning on each other, with the leader of Saddam Hussein's tribe assassinated yesterday as he was driving through Tikrit, which still flaunts its support for the old regime.
An American military spokesman struggled yesterday to suggest that his troops were still in full control, using phrases such as "isolated incidents" and "seeing progress", though on every street corner fear could clearly be seen in the eyes of many young Americans who had recently arrived, thinking the war was over.
One 23-year-old private, sent to root out gunmen who were said to have stormed a Baghdad hospital, said: "I thought we were peacekeepers, but there isn't any peace to keep."