14 Jihadists Killed in Clash Near Tikrit
Fourteen jihadists were killed in a fire-fight with Iraqi police today on the main highway near Tikrit, as reported by Aswat al-Iraq (Arabic text).
I really liked this story. Why did I like it?
-The 14 jihadists, who the police believe were Arab nationals, were hiding in a truck carrying livestock—sheep, that is. They were believed to be escaping from the rural areas to the west of Mosul, where a military operation being conducted by the Iraqi Army has been ongoing for the last twenty days.
-The jihadist cargo was apparently discovered during a routine checkpoint screening; when caught, they opened fire and the Iraqi police responded in kind, killing most of them. One jihadist blew himself up and injured two policemen.
-The incident took place near ‘Awja, Saddam’s birthplace, 15 Km south of Tikrit.
And here’s a hunch: this group probably includes some important Al-Qaeda in Iraq leaders. If they’re not that important, then why go to all these lengths to get them out of Mosul?
All this adds up to powerful imagery: jihadists on the run, hiding among sheep (…wolves among the lambs). The vigilant ‘shepherds’ uncover the ruse and slay the jihadists. Only two policemen are wounded. All this happens near a place that most Iraqis had learned to talk about in hushes tones under the Ba’athist nightmare.
Who wants to take bets that not a single major news organization in the United States will report on it?
Another Iraqi news agency, Al-Iraq Al-Aan, has a different take on today's events in ‘Awja: 12 rather than 14 jihadists were killed, all of whom were wearing suicide vests and they were travelling in a water truck, rather than a livestock truck.
Aswat Al-Iraq has been around a lot longer than the relatively new Al-Iraq Al-Aan (…Kuwaiti funded? It’s based in the Czech Republic, and there’s a picture of an ex-Al-Hurra reporter on Newsmatique’s official website who now lives in Prague) and on that point alone Aswat Al-Iraq has more credibility.
Isn’t this a great opportunity for some western reporters to get to the bottom of this and give us the real story? Wouldn’t they feel good about doing some real reporting for a change?