At least 70 people have died and 270 have been injured in Iraq after members of the Iraqi resistance staged a coordinated pre-dawn uprising in five cities and towns today. Most of the attacks targeted U.S.-backed Iraqi security forces in Mosul, Baghdad, Baquba, Ramadi and Fallujah.[includes transcript]
The worst violence was in the northern city of Mosul where at least 40 people died and 60 were injured.
In Fallujah a U.S. Cobra helicopter was shot down. The U.S. bombed portions of Fallujah and Baquba. At least three U.S. soldiers also died today.
The coordinated uprising comes less than a week before the scheduled so-called handover of power to Iraq.
The attacks also come one day after Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi vowed to assassinate Iraq’s selected prime minister Iyad Allawi. Zarqawi is a Jordanian who the U.S. claims has ties to Al Qaeda and is leading the Iraqi resistance.
We go now to Baquba for a report from journalist Christian Parenti.
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
CHRISTIAN PARENTI: I’m in a city east and north of Baghdad and there has been an uprising here. The Americans have been on offensive for four days south of here. They have been attacking the Shia part of the city. Now there was an uprising here in Baquba as well as in Fallujah and Mosul. There were numerous car bombings in Mosul. There’s fighting with many wounded. Here in Baquba, the city is sealed. The U.S. Troops have blocked all entrances in, and our translator and we had to actually sneak in on back roads. On the way in, U.S. Troops shot at us from a Bradley. We were following civilian mini bus that was trying to get into the city as well. The entire city of Baquba is more or less deserted. What happened this morning at dawn is the Mujahadin, the local resistance fighters distributed warning — that the coalition forces were about to attack, and the Mujahadin overran the police station, blew it up and killed 21 police officers. There has been sporadic firing all day and fighting and helicopter gunships on the — on what is I think the south side of the town where the Shia are that we have seen, and it looks like they were strays. We also heard six or seven extremely loud explosions which a local person told us was actually just sound bombs used to disperse people. So, that is the basic situation here in Baquba We’re going to now try to leave, and I also understand that the entire C.P.A. Or Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad was momentarily shut down. A colleague called me and told me that. They have shut down streets in Baghdad, but that’s now relaxed somewhat. There’s clearly an uprising going on in these four cities. July is traditionally the month of revolutions in Iraq. It’s when Abdul Karim Qasim had his revolution July 14, 1958. The two Ba’athist coups both happened in July. Everybody everyone is saying this is sort of the beginning of perhaps some sort of July Intifada as sovereignty approaches.
AMY GOODMAN: Journalist Christian Parenti in Baquba, Iraq.