Many observers predicted that Sunni insurgents in Iraq would simply sidestep the "surge" in Baghdad and move to other areas of Iraq, particularly the north. The NY Times is reporting today about the deteriorating situation in Mosul:
In the northern city of Mosul, more than 200 Sunni Arab insurgents carried out a sophisticated attack on several targets using suicide car bombers, rocket-propelled grenades, assault rifles and improvised bombs, said Maj. Gen. Watheq al-Hamdani, the top police commander in Mosul.
Four police officers died in the fighting, while 14 others were wounded along with 16 civilians, General Hamdani said.
The attack began at dusk when gunmen tried to storm the main provincial jail, the commander said. When police forces responded, the insurgents attacked them with six suicide car bombs, and 14 bombs planted on surrounding roads exploded.
Insurgents used two car bombs to destroy a bridge in Badush, about 15 miles west of the city, and five prisoners facing terrorism charges escaped from the jail there, killing two prison guards in the process, according to Brig. Gen. Mohammad al-Waga.
The insurgents have effectively paralyzed Mosul with this attack.
The authorities in Mosul imposed a round-the-clock curfew and blockaded five bridges that span the Tigris, which bisects the city, the general said.
This sort of coordinated attack conducted in broad daylight demonstrates that the insurgency is gaining strength and enjoys relatively sophisticated command and control. It's not a simple matter to organize an attack of 200 insurgents, along with 6 suicide car bombers.
The insurgents are clearly moving into the security vacuum created by the redeployment of US forces into the Baghdad area. The bottom line is that we have never had nearly the number of forces in Iraq needed to control the country.
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