Karbala provincial headquarters raid

Karbala provincial headquarters raid

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Karbala provincial headquarters raid
partof=the Iraqi insurgency
date=January 20, 2007
place=Karbala, Iraq
result=Successful insurgent raid
combatant1=flagicon|United States United States
combatant2=Iraqi insurgents
strength1=at least 12
strength2=9-12 (possibly 30 acc. to initial reports)
casualties1=5 killed (4 initially captured then killed), 3 wounded
The raid of the Karbala provincial headquarters was an infiltration attack carried out on 20 January 2007 by insurgent commandos, with possible Iranian involvement, on a meeting of U.S. and Iraqi officials at the governor's compound in Karbala to discuss security for the Shia ceremony of Ashoura. The assault, which left five American soldiers dead and three wounded, has been called the "boldest and most sophisticated attack in four years of warfare" [cite news
first = Steven R.
last = Hurst
coauthors = Qassim Abdul-Zahra
title = 4 Troops Abducted, Killed in Iraq Attack
url = http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=2827366
work = ABC News
publisher = AP
date = 2007-01-26
accessdate = 2007-01-27
] and is furthermore notable for being one of the few instances when Iraqi militants have actually managed to capture U.S. soldiers.


Since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Karbala province has not seen the same intensity of violence that has wracked other areas of Iraq such as Baghdad and Al Anbar province. Although Karbala has been the site of many attacks, it has largely been free of the spectacular bombings that regularly take place in Baghdad or the heavy urban warfare seen in Fallujah, Mosul, Najaf, Ramadi, and elsewhere. There have been two notable exceptions to this trend: the March 2004 Ashura massacre and the uprising of Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army across southern Iraq the following month. Prior to the 20 January raid, only 33 Coalition soldiers had been killed in Karbala province, constituting just over 1% of total coalition fatalities in Iraq. [cite web
url = http://icasualties.org/oif/Province.aspx
title = Coalition Deaths by Province
accessdate = 2007-01-26
year = 2006
work = iCasualties.org

The raid

The attack was perpetrated by "nine to 12 militants posing as an American security team ... [who] traveled in black GMC Suburban vehicles — the type used by U.S. government convoys — had American weapons, wore new U.S. military combat fatigues, and spoke English."cite news
title = Military confirms 4 soldiers were abducted during attack in Karbala
url = http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2007-01-26-iraq-contradiction_x.htm
work = USA Today
publisher = AP
date = 2007-01-26
accessdate = 2007-01-26
] According to one Iraqi official, the militant team was led by a blond haired man. The attack occurred as the U.S. military convened a meeting to discuss security for Ashura. About a dozen U.S. troops were inside the compound at the time.cite news
title = Karbala attackers posed as U.S. military officials
url = http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/meast/01/22/iraq.karbala/index.html
work = CNN
date = 2007-01-23
accessdate = 2007-02-05

After being waved through the last of three checkpoints manned by Iraqi securtiy forces at around 17:45, the militants parked their (at least) five SUVscite news
first = Peter
last = Capella
title = Mahdi: Iraq could be caught in US-Iran crossfire
url = http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=19320
work = Middle East Online
date = 2007-01-27 (updated 2007-01-28)
accessdate = 2007-02-05
] near the city's Provisional Joint Coordination Center (PJCC) main building. The attackers' convoy divided upon arrival, with some vehicles parking at the back of the main building where the meeting was taking place and others parking in front. The commandos first used flash grenades to confuse the Americans. They then stormed into a room where Americans and Iraqis were making the security plans, capturing two U.S. soldiers, 1LT Jacob Fritz and CPT Brian Freeman. They pulled two more soldiers, PFC Shawn Falter and SPC Jonathan Chism out of an armored Humvee at the entrance. One soldier, PVT Jonathon Millican died and three were wounded when a grenade thrown by insurgents exploded in the local police chief's office on an upper floor of the building. Three U.S. Humvees were damaged by separate explosions in the raid. No Iraqi police or soldiers were injured in the raid, as the insurgents specifically targeted the American soldiers in the compound.cite news
title = U.S.: Soldiers abducted in Karbala, killed elsewhere
url = http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/meast/01/26/iraq.karbala.ap/index.html
work = CNN
publisher = AP
date = 2007-01-26
accessdate = 2007-02-05

At approximately 18:00, the insurgents broke off the attack and left the compound with their prisoners, heading east toward neighbouring Babil province. Shortly after crossing the Euphrates River, the militants, who were then being followed by Iraqi police, shot their four captives and abandoned five vehicles along with uniforms, equipment, and a rifle. The four soldiers were found later by Iraqi police with gunshot wounds to their heads near Bu-Alwan, a village close to Mahawil. Three were already dead (two handcuffed together in the back of one of the SUVs and the other on the ground) and the fourth died while being evacuated to a nearby hospital.


On the day of the attack, the U.S. military reported only that five soldiers were killed while "repelling the attack."The full details of the attack, including the militants' penetration of the PJCC compound and the capture of four of the five soldiers, were not released until a week later.

Four individuals suspected of participating in the raid were detained on January 22 by American troops and Iraqi security forces. [cite news
author = 4th BCT (Airborne), 25th Inf. Div. Public Affairs
title = Four suspects seized, linked to Karbala attack
url = http://www.blackanthem.com/News/Allies_20/Four_suspects_seized_linked_to_Karbala_attack3802.shtml
work = Blackanthem.com
date = 2007-01-25
accessdate = 2007-01-26

The mastermind behind the attack, Azhar al-Dulaimi, was killed on May 18 by U.S. forces. [cite news
title = US troops kill Iraq raid 'leader'
url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6675935.stm
work = BBC
date = 2007-05-21
accessdate = 2007-05-22

uspected Iranian involvement

According to two unnamed U.S. officials, the Pentagon is examining the possibility that the raid was supported or conducted by Iranians. In a speech on 31 January 2007, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki stated that Iran was supporting attacks against Coalition forces in Iraq [cite news
title = Al-Maliki: Iraq won't be battleground for U.S., Iran
url = http://edition.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/meast/01/31/iraq.main/
work = CNN.com
date = 2007-01-31
accessdate = 2007-01-31
] and some Iraqis suspect that the raid may have been perpetrated by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps's Qods Force in retaliation for the detention of 5 Iranian officials by U.S. forces in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil on 11 January. [cite news
title = Iran involvement suspected in Karbala compound attack
url = http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/meast/01/30/iraq.main/index.html
work = CNN.com
date = 2007-01-31
accessdate = 2007-01-31
] [cite news
first = Robert
last = Baer
authorlink = Robert Baer
title = Are the Iranians Out for Revenge?
url = http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1583523,00.html?cnn=yes
work = Time.com
date = 2007-01-30
accessdate = 2007-01-31

In response to such speculations, Hassan Kazemi Qomi, the Iranian ambassador to Iraq, "ridiculed evidence the US military claimed to have proving Iranian involvement in planning attacks on US and Iraqi forces." [cite news
title = US warns Iran over Iraqi insurgency
url = http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,2003564,00.html
work = Guardian Unlimited
date = 2007-02-01
accessdate = 2007-02-10

Journalist Bill Roggio has suggested that the attackers may have intended to transfer the captured Americans over the border to Iran.cite web
url = http://billroggio.com/archives/2007/01/the_karbala_attack_a.php
title = The Karbala attack and the IRGC
accessdate = 2007-02-05
last = Roggio
first = Bill
date = 2007-01-26
work = The Fourth Rail

cquote|This raid required specific intelligence, in depth training for the agents to pass as American troops, resources to provide for weapons, vehicles, uniforms, identification, radios and other items needed to successfully carry out the mission. Hezbollah’s Imad Mugniyah executed a similar attack against Israeli forces on the Lebanese border, which initiated the Hezbollah-Israeli war during the summer of 2006…

Mahawil (where abandoned vehicles & the victim’s bodies were found) is in Babil province, about 27 miles directly east of Karbala. While it is impossible to prove, the attackers may have been making a bee-line towards the Iranian border.

The Karbala raid makes sense in light of the U.S. raids on the Iranian diplomatic missions in Baghdad and Irbil, where Iranian Qods Force agents were captured, along with documentation that divulged Iran’s involvement with and support of Shia death squads, the Sunni insurgent, and al-Qaeda in Iraq and Ansar al-Sunnah. Five Iranians from the Irbil raid are still in U.S. custody, and captured U.S. soldiers would provide for excellent bargaining chips.

IF ("sic") it is confirmed that Iran’s Qods Force was responsible, the news that the United States has authorized the death or captured ("sic") of Iranian agents inside Iraq, as well as in Afghanistan and Lebanon makes all the more sense.

On July 2, 2007, the US military said that information from captured Hezbollah fighter Ali Moussa Dakdouk established a link between Quds Force and the Karbala raid. Dakdouk worked as a liaison between Quds force and the Shia group that carried out the raid. According to the US, Dakdouk said that the Shia group "could not have conducted this complex operation without the support and direction of the Quds force." [" [US links Iran to attack in Iraq http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6260690.stm] ", "BBC News", July 2, 2007. Retrieved July 2, 2007.]

Other incidents

20 January 2007 was the third-deadliest day of the Iraq War for U.S. troops, with 20 other American soldiers killed throughout Iraq, including 12 in a helicopter crash caused by hostile ground fire [cite news
title = U.S.: 4 copter losses due to ground fire
url = http://news.bostonherald.com/international/middleEast/view.bg?articleid=180982
work = Boston Herald
publisher = AP
date = 2007-02-04
accessdate = 2007-02-04
] north of Baghdad in Diyala Governorate. [cite news
title = Third-deadliest day of war for U.S. troops
url = http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16722042/
work = MSNBC
publisher = AP
date = 2007-01-21
accessdate = 2007-01-27


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