Many dead in Iraqi city firefight
The US says it faced uniformed pro-Saddam militants
The US military has reported killing 46 militants and wounding 18 in clashes in the central Iraqi city of Samarra.
Five US soldiers and a civilian were wounded in the fighting which raged as militants made a series of attacks on convoys in the city on Sunday.
But witnesses said a US tank had fired indiscriminately during the fighting, killing at least two factory-workers.
News of the fighting comes after a weekend of bloody ambushes across Iraq, largely targeting American allies.
US spokesman Lieutenant Colonel William MacDonald said that the US forces had fought back with tank fire when they were attacked three times by militants wearing uniforms of the pro-Saddam Fedayeen fighters.
Bradley fighting vehicles responded with 120mm tank rounds and 25mm cannon fire, destroying three buildings in the city, he said.
"We're sending a clear message that anyone who attempts to attack our convoys will pay the price," the spokesman said.
Samarra is within the so-called "Sunni triangle" north of Baghdad - the heartland of Saddam Hussein loyalists
Ok, to a sane person, this is what we call a major escalation. A daylight attack by a force of at least 100 men, which gathered, formed up and sprung an ambush. It was obvious that it would end in failure, but to see uniformed Fedayeen pop up in a large unit seven months after Saddam's demise is not good news. Not in the slightest.
You won't see any more fiascos like this in the near future, but it was a definite message to the Americans, at the end of a bloody week of a bloody month. The Iraqis will stand, fight and die when they choose to. Which is something which should scare the American commanders. They're proving willing to take heavy losses to make a point. Months after major combat was supposed to be over.
posted by Steve @ 11:21:00 PM