A security post during sandstorm in Baghdad
(AFP file photo : Sandstorm in Baghdad on 17 April)
Militiamen today took advantage of a heavy sandstorm in Baghdad to fire rockets and mortar rounds at the Green Zone, with at least 10 hitting the fortified area. There were no reports of causalities. With the sandstorm reducing visibility, military helicopters were unable to take off allowing the militiamen to escape after firing the missiles.
Iraqi Army Spokesman Maj. Gen. Qasim Atta today told a news conference in Baghdad that most of the rockets fired recently in the city, much of it coming from Sadr City, were Iranian-made.
“We have found many Iranian-made weapons - Katyusha and Grad rockets, and smart roadside bombs and smart bombs. We have also seized some documents and identified some people,” Gen. Atta said.
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Mohamad Ali Hosseini today denied Iraqi reports that Iran has been supporting the Mahdi Army. Sadr City is the stronghold of Mahdi Army.
That is surprising that a sandstorm favors the mad mortarmen. During the invasion, Saddam's Army thought that they could move under the cover of a sandstorm and then learned, the hard way, that our thermal imaging worked just fine. Likewise, in 2005, a sandstorm resulted in my unit killing more insurgents in one day than in any other single day of the deployment because the fools thought that the sandstorm would give them cover to emplace IEDs. It didn't.
Side note: I recall reading somewhere (perhaps here) that the going rate for firing a mortar from Sadr City was $1500. Does that sound right? And have you heard any recent prices? That seems like a good indicator of how willing the people are to cooperate with Sadr's militia and possibly whether we're having any effect upon their supply lines.
Cowards who use sandstorm to attack... Shameful!
Col. John Hort, who commands U.S. troops on the southern edge of Sadr City, said the heavy sandstorm sharply limits sensors and targeting lasers on helicopters and unmanned drones used to identify firing positions.
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