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SLUG: 2-311260 Iraq / Violence (L)
DATE:
NOTE NUMBER:

DATE=12/27/2003

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

TITLE=IRAQ/VIOLENCE (L)

NUMBER=2-311260

BYLINE=CHALLISS McDONOUGH

DATELINE=BAGHDAD

CONTENT=

VOICED AT:

/// EDS: UPDATE INTRO WITH LATEST CASUALTY FIGURES FROM CN WIRE ///

INTRO: Three large, coordinated attacks in the central Iraqi city of Karbala have killed at least six coalition soldiers and wounded at least 37 more. Some reports put the number of wounded at more than 100. V-O-A correspondent Challiss McDonough reports from Baghdad.

TEXT: The attacks on coalition military facilities in Karbala came within minutes of each other.

The attackers used car bombs at all three sites. In the deadliest assault, they also launched mortar rounds. Another military camp was hit with two car bombs and small arms fire.

The third coalition base to be hit was located in the same place as an Iraqi police station, and many of the casualties there are believed to be police officers.

So far military officials have not released the nationalities of the coalition wounded and dead. Karbala is controlled by a multi-national force under Polish command.

News reports from the city say the attacks also damaged a government building and a university, wounding a number of students.

Karbala is located about 100 kilometers southwest of Baghdad and is home to several of the holiest shrines in Shi'ite Islam.

The bombings in Karbala are believed to be the most coordinated, extensive and deadly assault on coalition targets since the capture of deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein two weeks ago.

The U-S military deputy chief of operations, Brigadier General Mike Kimmitt, says it appears that the anti-coalition resistance is fairly well organized.

/// KIMMITT ACT ///

We do believe that there are cells throughout the country, primarily concentrated in the larger cities, that have some loose form of coordination. Is it a

centrally organized command-and-control network, that if you cut off the head of the snake, everything

underneath it collapses? We don't think it's that. At the same time, are they loose-knit, informal, uncoordinated? We don't think it's that. It's

somewhere in between that, where there's some form of loose coordination between them. That is one of those

puzzles that our analysts keep working on every day.

/// END ACT ///

Over the last few days, there have been a series of mortar and rocket attacks in Baghdad and surrounding cities in the so-called Sunni Triangle, where support

for Saddam Hussein remains highest.

But the violence in Karbala and several recent attacks in northern Iraq show that the insurgency is hardly limited to Saddam's stronghold. (Signed)

NEB/CEM/ALW/RH



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