US soldier dies as Iraqi army says al-Qaeda fighters ”on the run”
The U.S. military on Monday said an American soldier has been killed in a roadside bombing north of Baghdad. A statement said two other troops were hurt in the blast in Salahuddin province.
Meanwhile, an Iraqi commander said Sunday Al-Qaeda fighters and other Sunni fighters have largely scattered from the northern city of Mosul in the face of a U.S.-Iraqi sweep, fleeing to desert areas further south. He vowed the forces will not allow them to regroup.
According to the AP, the U.S. military said al-Qaeda in Iraq was "off-balance and on the run" but remains a very lethal threat, tempering comments by the American ambassador a day earlier that the network was closer than ever to being defeated. The remarks came amid a flurry of attacks in Baghdad and other areas. A roadside bomb targeted a patrol of U.S.-allied Sunni fighters near a mosque in northern Baghdad, killing one of the so-called Awakening Council members and wounding three others, a police official said.
Bombings and shootings killed three people in and around the city of Baqouba, north of Baghdad, police said.
The U.S. and Iraqi military have called Mosul the last remaining urban stronghold for al-Qaeda in Iraq after successes against the network in Baqouba and major towns in the western province of Anbar. Iraqi Defense Ministry spokesman, Maj. Gen. Mohammed al-Askari, said security forces had rounded up some 1,030 people during their sweep the past week in Mosul. Another 251 detainees had been freed after being cleared of suspicion, he said.
According to him, about 2,000 al-Qaeda and other Sunni fighters were believed to have been in the city before the sweep was launched. "Now they are in a confused situation," he said at a joint news conference with U.S. military spokesman Rear Adm. Patrick Driscoll. "We will not allow them to reorganize themselves."