This makes me feel that al Qaeda is nearly wiped out in the area - NYTIMES/Reuters:
Al Qaeda fighters kidnapped 15 Iraqi women and children after rival Sunni Arab militants repelled their attack on two villages in a fierce battle on Thursday in which 32 people were killed, police said.
The fighting, rare on such a large scale, underscored the growing split between Sunni Arab militant groups and al Qaeda that U.S. forces have sought to exploit as they try to quell sectarian violence that has killed tens of thousands. ... About 200 al Qaeda fighters raided the villages of Sheikh Tamim and Ibrahim Yehia in restive Diyala province, north of Baghdad, in the early hours of Thursday after launching a mortar attack on the area, police said.
The attack came despite a U.S. offensive in Diyala targeting al Qaeda. U.S. troops launched an operation in June to oust fighters who had taken over large parts of the provincial capital, Baquba. Many escaped to fight on.
Brigadier-General Ali Delayan, the police chief of Baquba, told Reuters that 22 residents had been killed in the fighting along with 10 al Qaeda fighters.
Several wounded residents said villagers were loyal to the Sunni Arab insurgent group, the 1920 Revolution Brigade.
Delayan said the attackers had escaped with eight women and seven children as hostages.
A mosque that served the two villages was destroyed in the fighting and its imam was among those killed, he added.
Delayan said the al Qaeda attackers mortared the villages before storming into them. Rocket-propelled grenades were used in the fighting, in which three houses were destroyed.
He said the gun battle with fighters loyal to the 1920 Revolution Brigade, which has recently distanced itself from al Qaeda, was triggered by the execution of four men, including the mosque imam.
- Police said they arrested 22 of the attackers. AND, THEY KILLED TEN. AND CAPTURED 22. NOT BAD.
- I THINK THIS PROVES THAT AL QAEDA'S DAYS ON IRAQ ARE NUMBERED.
- ASIDE: NOTICE THAT THEY DESTROYED A MOSQUE. DON'T EXPECT ANY PROTESTS.
- AL QAEDA: kidnappers of Muslim women and children; destroyers of mosques. Scum.
- And the Iraqis are fed up.
- We mustn't let the Democrats force us to abandon these people to these al Qaeda animals.