Iraqi police worked with Iranians in US base invasion that killed 5

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Iraqi police worked with Iranians in US base invasion that killed 5

Looks like the US forces can't trust anyone, these articles outline a successful raid by hostiles on a base with collusion of the Iraqis there.

A previously undisclosed Army investigation into an audacious January attack in Karbala that killed five U.S. soldiers concludes that Iraqi police working alongside American troops colluded with insurgents.

The assault on the night of Jan. 20 stunned U.S. officials with its planning and sophistication. A column of SUVs filled with gunmen who posed as an American security team passed through Iraqi police checkpoints at a provincial headquarters in the Shiite holy city.

Within a few minutes, the attackers killed one American, wounded three and abducted four. The captives were later found shot to death; the gunmen escaped.

... Quote:
(The American) defense hinged on a level of trust that … early warning and defense would be provided by the Karbala Iraqi police. This trust was violated,
the report dated Feb. 27 says.

The information is contained in an investigative file made available to USA TODAY and authenticated by the Army.

The attack has drawn special scrutiny from Pentagon officials because of the unprecedented breach of security and the insurgents' tactics.

The investigation reveals several new details about the assault, including:

•Iraqi police suddenly vanished from the government compound before the shooting started.

•Attackers, evidently briefed on how U.S. forces would defend themselves, bottled up more than three dozen soldiers in a barracks and headquarters complex using a combination of smoke and fragment grenades and satchel charges to blow up Humvees.

•Gunmen knew exactly where to find and abduct U.S. officers.

•Iraqi vendors operating a PX and barbershop went home early.

•A back gate was left unlocked and unguarded.

Investigators recommended several changes to toughen defensive positions, including the installation of closed-circuit cameras to provide better early warnings, "duress devices" that can allow overrun outposts to signal headquarters, and requirements that any arriving convoy provide identification.

This month, Army officials publicly alleged that Iran played a direct role in the Karbala attack.

The Quds Force, an elite unit of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards, helped plan and direct it with Iraqi militants, Brig. Gen. Kevin Bergner, a military spokesman, said at a news conference.

The Quds Force, he said, supplied Shiite militias with weapons and up to $3 million a month in aid.

Hezbollah, a Shiite militant group, is also working in Iraq and training militia groups, Bergner said.

The Iranian involvement in the Karbala attack may have even included planning with the Iraqi police who had colluded with the attackers.

Several U.S. troops who survived the attack later told investigators that they believe some gunmen were allowed to blend in among Iraqi police inside the headquarters compound hours before the assault, according to interviews included in the report.

"It appears an inside assault force was pre-staged," the report says.

American soldiers also told investigators that, as the assault ended, they saw an Iraqi police commander in the complex talking on his cellphone and laughing.

The infiltration of local police units by sectarian militias "remains a significant problem," according to a Pentagon status report on Iraq issued in June.

Such collusion is almost unavoidable, experts say.

"There's no way you can fight this kind of war without significant problems with infiltrators. It was a major problem in Vietnam. It was a major problem in Korea. It's a problem in any kind of campaign where you are working closely with local forces," says Anthony Cordesman, a military analyst and Iraq expert withthe Center for Strategic and International Studiesin Washington.

Insurgents familiar with compound

By Gregg Zoroya, USA TODAY

Before the night erupted in violence, it was unusually quiet in the Karbala government compound where American troops and Iraqi police were encamped Jan. 20, according to a previously undisclosed Army investigation.

That night, insurgents wearing U.S. uniforms managed to get past Iraqi police, storm two buildings and abduct four soldiers, whom they later killed. The ease with which the insurgents entered the base jarred the U.S. military. Last week, Pentagon officials accused the Iranian government of training the attackers.

On that Saturday night, U.S. soldiers relaxed on their cots listening to music, watching videos or instant messaging family at home. 1st Lt. Jacob Fritz, 25, of Verdon, Neb., sat at his laptop computer in his room. He had just loaned another soldier his copy of the movie Miami Vice. Pfc. Shawn Falter, 25, of Cortland, N.Y., grabbed a sandwich before joining Spc. Johnathan Chism, 22, of Gonzales, La., for sentry duty in a Humvee at the front gate.

Iraqi police usually filled the compound. But that evening, mysteriously none was there, according to Army investigators. Iraqi vendors had suddenly closed up shop and gone home early. Investigators now suspect Iraqi police secretly cooperated with an Iranian-trained assault force.

About 6 p.m., a column of five to seven SUVs moved toward the government center. The SUVs had false antennas to make them look like Pentagon contractor vehicles, the report says. The men inside spoke English, wore American uniforms and helmets and appeared to be armed with U.S. weapons, investigators were told.

Iraqi checkpoint guards either let them pass or were disarmed at gunpoint, according to the investigation. "The attackers, pretending to be American, used short U.S. phrases that the IPs (Iraqi police) could understand: 'Sit down,' 'Stop,' 'Go,' " the report says. "The insurgents moved and spoke like Americans and acted as if their presence at the (headquarters) was a normal occurrence."

The column apparently divided as it approached the central compound with two SUVs heading for an inner gate guarded by Falter and Chism. Several soldiers disembarked and walked toward the sentries. Smiling, nodding and exchanging pleasantries, they walked right by Falter before one turned and shot Falter in the back, the report says.

Another gunman jumped on the Humvee and fired at Chism and wounded him. "Chism had no chance to react," the report says.

Both men were believed to still be alive when they were placed in the SUVs.

The attackers then struck the Provisional Joint Coordination Center and a nearby barracks housing Americans, the investigators say.

Aware that the U.S. defensive drill was to go the roofs of the buildings, the attackers used grenades that led officers to pull troops back inside the buildings, according to the report. Adding to the confusion was .50-caliber ammunition that began exploding inside one of the U.S. Humvees blown up by the attackers.

"The explosions were so loud and close it rumbled the building, shattered the windows and also knocked a few of us on our (backsides)," one soldier, whose name was blacked out, told investigators.

Gunmen entering the center's first floor headed for the only two rooms containing Americans, the communication center and a room shared by Fritz and Army Capt. Brian Freeman, 31, of Temecula, Calif. Using concussion grenades and automatic weapons, they tried to force their way inside the center where there were five GIs.

One was Army Pfc. Johnathon Millican, 20, of Locust Fork, Ala. As one soldier tried to bar the door, an attacker threw what investigators believe was a concussion grenade inside the room. Millican, the report says, "fell on it when it came to a stop."

He blocked the explosion with his body, but was killed by bullets fired into the room. Saved from the concussive blast, the other soldiers fended off the attackers, the report says.

Last week, Millican was posthumously awarded a Silver Star for his bravery.

'The attackers abducted Fritz and Freeman, who were possibly stunned by a second concussion grenade thrown into their room, the report says. Fritz's laptop was taken.

The attackers then quickly left the compound with their captives in handcuffs. "There is compelling evidence," the investigative report says, "that all four resisted to the best of their ability and were still alive when taken."

The gunmen later abandoned their vehicles in a rural area. Three of the captive were found there shot to death. A fourth, Freeman, was still alive, but mortally wounded and later died en route to a hospital. Not a single Iraqi was hurt during the attack, the report says

Here is a flash version describing what happened
By netchicken: posted on 16-7-2007

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