American commanders stated they believed there were some 5,000 Saddam Hussein loyalists actively planning and making attacks on coalition troops, and Iraqis that support them. Other American reports stated there are a few hundred al Qaeda members in Iraq, making suicide attacks on coalition troops and foreign organizations.
U.S. forces launched "Operation Iron Hammer." Known locations used by Sunni Arab and al Qaeda fighters were attacked by aircraft, while armored units went in afterward to search and make arrests. Such attacks have not been made before so as not to alarm Iraqi civilians. But the continued attacks and lack of sufficient information from Sunni Arabs to catch all the attackers, have caused a change in tactics. The British experience in Iraq (from the 1920s to the 1940s) was that force often worked when other appeals did not.
In the past few days, three ambulances, packed with explosives (up to half a ton) were found and seized by coalition troops and Iraqi police.
A U.S. AH-64 crew noted Iraqis firing on them in northern Iraq, and how the Iraqis jumped into a car and headed for a house. Calling in ground troops, the Iraqis were captured. Elsewhere, over a dozen other Iraqis being arrested for shooting at American aircraft. All the suspects were Sunni Arabs, and some were officials in the Baath Party or Saddam's government.