Iraq creates anti-insurgency force

Thursday, July 15, 2004

BAGHDAD Iraq has established a new security unit to fight the insurgency raging for more than one year since the toppling of the Saddam Hussein regime.

Iraqi officials said the special force would include 270 officers trained in counter-insurgency missions. The force has already reported the capture of tons of explosives and scores of missiles and rockets.

Most of the members of the new force have come from the Iraqi Police Service, officials said. They said 116 police officers volunteered to obtain additional specialized training required for the counter-insurgency unit.

The new unit was meant to serve as a SWAT team and respond to insurgency plots as well as hostage crises, Middle East Newsline reported, Middle East Newsline reported. The force was part of the police service and under the auspices of the Interior Ministry.

The training for the new unit would last at least eight weeks, officials said. The unit has a $64 milion budget and was being equipped by the U.S.-led coalition.

The new counter-insurgency unit was expected to be aided by other Iraqi security forces. Iraqi National Guard commander Maj. Gen. Muzher Al Mullah Al Rashidi said his new unit which replaced the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps, captured four tons of TNT and dozens of Katyusha rockets and missiles in July.

Al Rashidi also said the National Guard captured 550 firearms in the first week of the emergency measures launched in Iraq early this month. On July 12, an Iraqi government announcement said 309 cadets completed the first 20-day course for the National Guard.

The success of the new units has not stopped insurgency attacks against Iraqi government installations and officials. On Thursday, 10 people, including three Iraqi police officers were killed in an car bombing near a police station in the western city of Haditha.

On July 13, a senior government official and a senior National Guard commander were killed by insurgents. Several other senior officials escaped assassination attempts around Iraq over the last two days.

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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