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Searches and Fighting in Baghdad
Detailed Eyewitness Reports
02/15/2007 3:54 PM ET
An Iraqi soldier mans a checkpoint in Baghdad on Thursday.
Photo by Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP.
An Iraqi soldier mans a checkpoint in Baghdad on Thursday.

The Baghdad security plan is underway in all areas, but operations differ across the capital House-to-house searches are reported in some districts, while open fighting is reported in western parts of the city.

According to IraqSlogger sources inside the city, troops are conducting house to house searches in Adhamiya, Karrada, Sadr City, and Mansour. Some individuals are being detained for questioning, and their families have been told that they will be released later.

Light weapons are not being confiscated in searches, according to eyewitnesses.

US troops were observed by IraqSlogger sources asking Baghdad residents if they were Sunni or Shi`a while searching them.

Checkpoints have proliferated in the city, and although traffic was snarled today, the streets are calmer than yesterday, according to IraqSlogger sources. Unlike the time before the security plan, automobiles without license plates and those brandishing guns are now prohibited in the city, and such vehicles are being stopped. Even if the armed occupants describe themselves as private security for officials, this has not seemed to spare them from searches, eyewitnesses report.

Open fighting is reported in other parts of the city. According to IraqSlogger sources, Sunni militants are offering resistance, but have been pushed to the western areas of Baghdad. Sources in the area say that heavy fighting is expected in houses and around the Kandari district, as the militants have taken up positions in these houses.

Many fighters left the city before the security plan began. IraqSlogger has heard from its sources in the capital that many Baghdadis are skeptical about what the operations will accomplish in the long term. Relatively smooth operations may not be a sign of major changes in the Iraqi security situation after the plan is concluded if the bulk of targeted militants have left the city.

In some areas of the city, the “popular committees” are reported to have started their work. According to the security plan, these groups were supposed to be unarmed, but eyewitnesses saw them searching and making arrests in the area.

Eyewitnesses across the city report armed men in SUVs, but who are not US soldiers. There is no word yet on who these might be. Some sources fear that these may be “dirty squads,” but this cannot be confirmed at this time.

Pesh Merga troops are reported to be operating in the southern Arab Jubour district and near Dora.

Displaced Iraqis are skeptical about the possibility of returning to their homes after the security plan, according to IraqSlogger sources. One Shi`a family that had been displaced from the western Baghdad area of Amriya tried to return to their house and were kicked out again, eyewitnesses report. Twenty houses were reported returned to their original occupants in Sadr City.

Prices have not changed in the city but Baghdad sources report a fuel shortage, and many gas stations have shut down.


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