Friday, December 03, 2004

Breaking the Back

Oh boy.

BAGHDAD, Dec. 3 -- Iraqi insurgents staged nearly simultaneous attacks Friday morning on police stations at opposite ends of Baghdad, killing at least 20 people, freeing dozens of prisoners and emptying a police arsenal in a demonstration of the militants' strength in the heart of the country.

Hours later insurgents rose up in Mosul, overrunning many points in the eastern sector of Iraq's third-largest city.

The strikes employed small-arms fire, rocket-propelled grenades and a potent car bomb, the insurgents' time-tested methods. Like many such attacks, most of those killed during the fighting appeared to be civilians. Just after noon the group led by Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Jordanian militant, claimed responsibility for the attacks on a website known for carrying its statements.

Eleven police officers were killed after dozens of armed militants overran the police station in the southern neighborhood of Saydiya after an hours-long gun battle.

Across town in Adhamiya, a restive Sunni Muslim neighborhood that U.S. military officials have said may be serving as sanctuary for insurgents who fled fighting in Fallujah, a car bomb exploded around 6 a.m. on the cool Muslim Sabbath, according to police officials.