Rocket attacks hit Mosul bases
March 5, 2009
MOSUL, Iraq — A U.S. soldier was killed Tuesday night during a barrage of rockets at Forward Operating Base Diamondback outside this violent northern city.
The base and the adjacent Forward Operating Base Marez shook with what sounded like at least nine blasts.
An eyewitness on Diamondback said he saw rescue workers pull the soldier from a residential area of "containerized housing units," or CHUs.
The soldier’s name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin, military officials said.
At least six soldiers and two coalition interpreters have been killed in less than a month in this insurgent stronghold as U.S. forces push an offensive to rid the city of militants.
U.S. forces are in the midst of Operation Ninevah Resolve, a monthslong, house-to-house effort to clear Mosul and surrounding areas of insurgents. Americans are working with their Iraqi counterparts to conduct raids and combat patrols both in the city and in rural areas thought to be "support zones," where militants seek shelter in between attacks.
The ramped-up attacks are likely a response to increased combat operations by the U.S. and Iraq, said Maj. Ramona Bellard, spokeswoman for the U.S. Army 3rd Brigade Heavy Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division.
"They are feeling the pressure," she said Wednesday. "Iraqi security forces, with our assistance when desired, are doggedly pursuing these criminals and will not stop."
Another facet of the operation is census operations to determine the condition of essential services such as electricity, water, sewer and trash. While many other cities have seen massive reconstruction efforts, civil projects are still in their infancy in Mosul.
Violence has ebbed in much of Iraq, but bombings, shootings and grenade attacks are still daily occurrences in Mosul, which is Iraq’s third most-populous city, with 2 million residents.