Iraqis Pivotal in Helicopter Attack Arrests

Although violence headlined reports from Iraq most of this week, some encouraging news came from our troops today. The U.S. soldiers in Task Force Baghdad detained eight men allegedly responsible for Thursday’s helicopter attack and downing which killed 11 civilians. While these arrests are newsworthy on their own, the U.S. military feels the best news is that Iraqi civilians were pivotal in the capture of these insurgents.

According to Colonel David J. Bishop from the 1st Armored Division, three separate Iraqi individuals came forward concerning this tragic event. The first notified them of the actual event itself, and took U.S. troops to the site of the crash. In separate notifications, the other two Iraqis provided the information targeting the same group of individuals believed to have launched the attack.

“What I’m seeing in my area of operations is a growing fatigue on the part of the local citizens with the insurgency,” Bishop told Brian Wilson of Fox News Channel (FNC).

Bishop felt confident that the arrested netted the perpetrators of the attack. There was a link to a blue Kia truck with discerning features which was seen leaving the area after the crash. Additionally, bomb-making and other material were uncovered in the homes where these arrests occurred.

“What we found was a lot of military paraphernalia – some of it that pertains to operations that lend themselves to the type of incident that occurred,” explained Bishop.

Those arrested are currently being questioned concerning the helicopter attack that killed six Americans, 2 from Fiji and the three-man Bulgarian crew. A video tape made by the insurgents showed the execution of the Bulgarian pilot that survived the missile attack and crash.

Calling it the “good news,” Bishop emphasized that he was particularly encouraged by the Iraqis aiding in the investigation. In fact, he indicated the investigation was based solely on Iraqi-provided information.

“But, what we found were local citizens that were able to positively identify these individuals by face, by residence and by the particular vehicle they were in when they fled the scene,” Bishop said.

It seems the Iraqi people have had enough of the violence. Recently, Iraqi women and children have taken significant hits by insurgent attacks. A mosque filled with worshippers was also a recent target. One wonders why the insurgents have stooped to actions that will only inflame the local population against them.

We can hope that the recent surge in violence is the “cornered dog syndrome” — where they fight hardest when they know the end is near and the walls are closing in on them. It couldn’t have escaped their notice that the Iraqi people themselves have begun turning the insurgents in and informing Coalition troops of their weapons caches. Even some Iraqis not thrilled with U.S. involvement in their country have begun to view the insurgency as the bigger threat to their lives and livelihoods.

The quotes and most of the information provided in this post came from today’s interview with Col. Bishop on FNC’s “Weekend Live” with Brian Wilson as host.

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