Friday, January 27, 2006

Iraqi Forces Arrest About 60 After Clashes

"BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Iraqi forces clashed with insurgents Friday near the notorious airport road and other districts of western Baghdad, arresting nearly 60 people as the sounds of a rousing song, "Where are the terrorists now?" blared from police car loudspeakers.

The fiercest clashes occurred in the Jihad district along the main road to Baghdad International Airport - scene of numerous bombings and ambushes.

U.S. attack helicopters roamed the skies and the rattle of automatic weapons fire echoed through the streets as motorists abandoned their vehicles and merchants shuttered their shops.

Iraqi troops armed with rifles and machine guns blocked access to the areas where security operations were under way. However, residents reported seeing insurgent snipers on rooftops in the Jihad area and masked gunmen, some armed with rocket-propelled grenades, in the alleyways.

An Associated Press photographer watched as gunmen shot dead two men trying to flee the area. Residents said the two were killed because they were collaborating with the Americans.

In the Saydiyah neighborhood, witnesses saw police hustle about a dozen men, blindfolded and handcuffed, into pickup trucks and driven away, while police car loudspeakers blared the lyrics to a commando fight song - "Oh God, you protected the homeland, where are the terrorists now?""


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