Iraq: March 12, 2004


A group of five terrorists was arrested by a Polish quick reaction force in Iraq. There is no doubt, that the terrorists were responsible for the recent killing of two American civilian workers and their Iraqi interpreter on March 9, 2004. At about eight o'clock at the evening (Baghdad Time) the Americans stopped their car at a check-point between the cities Kerbala and Al-Hilla manned by people wearing Iraqi police uniforms. It turned out to be a trap. The terrorist immediately opened fire killing both men and their female translator. 

Polish forces from the multinational division were alarmed by the local Iraqi (Shia-Muslims) civilians, who were witness of the attack. A quick reaction group immediately pursued the enemy. The terrorists were caught by surprise and gave up without resistance. The bodies of the victims were found in the trunk of their car. The killers were passed on to the American Military Police. According to the Polish media in Iraq the successful pursuit indicates an improving cooperation between Polish forces and the local Iraqi population. It is second successful anti-terror operation in recent time conducted by Polish forces. The last one occurred in February, when a group of nine terrorists were arrested in the desert near Kerbala.

During the 70s and 80s there were up to 40.000 Polish engineers and construction workers in Iraq. In those days Poland was assigned as the east-block country which was responsible for the contacts with Iraq. Perhaps it is one of the reasons why today there seams to be a relatively good level of understanding between Polish troops and Iraqi civilians. Although some terrorists attacks were also conducted against Polish soldiers there was until now only one fatality. Currently there are 2.200 Polish soldiers in Iraq. Since 1999 Poland is a member of NATO and traditionally regarded as one of the most pro-American countries in Europe. --Tomasz Nowak


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