Today, 19th February, the brief lull in insurgency and sectarian killings was blasted open by a daring assault on a US combat post north of Baghdad. Initial reports speak of two soldiers dead and 17 injured in the attack. The insurgents are starting to show the same heightened audacity and verve that just preceded the new clampdown. A suicide bomber tried to enter the base and was then followed up by a group of insurgents firing on US troops. It comes just a day after a massive car bomb in Baghdad dented the dip in sectarian violence, killing 60 people and wounding 170 on Sunday
Monday has already been followed by 30 deaths in the capital due to a string of roadside and market bombs.
Attacks continued across the Sunni triangle of death with a suicide attempt on a police station in Ramadi, in mixed Mahmoudiya, south of Baghdad, two were killed and two wounded by a car bomb, while in the now hyper-volatile mixed areas in the region north of Baghdad, four were killed in car bombing in Duluiyah and a US marine was shot in Al Anbar province.
After beginning there house-to house searches in « soft » areas troops are now getting closer to the combustible Sadr City. As they do the mood on the streets is changing. No longer are doors opened in welcome, but the candy distributed is thrown away.
It may too soon to say, but after the bellicose boasting of US and Government officials on the weekend, the latest tenacity and recklessness of attacks may suggest that the sectarian and insurgent « honeymoon » is coming to an end.