American Ammo Dump Fire An Insurgent Attack
It is now being reported that the explosive fire at a US ammunition storage facility in Baghdad was caused by a mortar attack by insurgents.
Militiamen firing mortars detonated a U.S. ammunition dump in Baghdad on Tuesday night, sparking a barrage of explosions that continued to shake the capital on Wednesday morning, a U.S. military spokesman said.
Residents said the blasts were reminiscent of the aerial bombardment of Baghdad that preceded the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.
A mortar round fired from the Abu Dsheer area of southern Baghdad caused the fire in an ammunition holding area in Camp Falcon, a forward operating base for U.S. troops, that ignited tank, artillery and small-arms ammunition, the spokesman said.
"Intelligence indicates that civilians aligned with a militia organization were responsible for last night's mortar attack," said Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Withington, spokesman for the U.S. 4th Infantry Division.
The Islamic Army in Iraq, a nationalist anti-occupation insurgent group, claimed responsibility for the Tuesday night attack on the U.S. Forward Operating Base Falcon in southern Baghdad near the Dora neighborhood that caused stockpiles of tank and artillery shells to explode through the night in spectacular bursts of flame and sparks.
"With the help of God, the mortar and rocket squads of the Islamic Army have shelled a U.S. Army base with two rockets and three mortar shells," the group said in a statement posted on a Web site known to be used by insurgents. "The rockets and shells fell on ammunition dumps causing them to explode. Sounds of explosions were heard in Baghdad."
The authenticity of the statement could not be immediately verified, but the U.S. military did confirm that the base's ammunition depot had been hit at 10:40 p.m. Tuesday by an 82mm mortar round fired by insurgents from a nearby residential area.
But curiously, the AP article notes an ultimatum that was given in Baquba by a Sunni group calling themselves the Mujahdeen of Diyala in which it was demanded that a local Iraqi military commander be relieved of duties. The report said that the group “claimed the commander was responsible for attacks on Sunni Arabs in the province. The leaflets, dated Oct. 6, gave Wednesday as the deadline for his removal.” The deadline of the previously unknown group could be coincidence or a sign of cooperation, coordination and/or inter-relationship with the Islamic Army in Iraq and possibly other Sunni terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda in Iraq. Last nights attack was part of a seemingly coordinated wave of attacks across the Baghdad area.