Thursday, December 01, 2005

Bombings in Iraq Fall to Seven-Month Low

By CHRIS TOMLINSON, Associated Press Writer 38 minutes ago

BAGHDAD, Iraq - The U.S. military said Thursday that suicide bombings fell in November to their lowest level in seven months after joint U.S.-Iraqi operations west of the capital.

In Ramadi, the U.S. military played down reports by residents and police of widespread attacks against American and Iraqi installations there, saying only one rocket-propelled grenade was fired at an observation post and there were no injuries.

An AP Television News video showed the insurgents walking down a shuttered market street and a residential neighborhood, as well as firing four mortar rounds. The masked men, however, appeared relaxed, and the U.S. command dismissed the video as little more than a publicity stunt.

Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch told reporters that suicide bombings fell to 23 in November, which he attributed to successful U.S.-Iraqi military operations against insurgent strongholds in the Euphrates River valley west of the capital.

"His weapon of choice is suicide bombers," Lynch said of the insurgents. "In the month of November: only 23 suicide attacks; the lowest we've seen in the last seven months, the direct result of the effectiveness of our operations."

Communities along the river are believed used by foreign fighters to slip into Iraq from
Syria, traveling down the river highway toward Baghdad and other major cities.
Nevertheless, Lynch warned that al-Qaida in Iraq will likely step up attacks in the next two weeks to try to disrupt parliamentary elections Dec. 15.

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