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June 22, 2006
Iraqi Police Rescue 17 Hostages

The Iraqi police, who have come under criticism from some American politicians as ineffective, today staged a successful raid that freed 17 hostages. Insurgents had kidnapped them a day earlier, part of 85 hostages taken at an Iraqi factory:

Iraqi police stormed a farm north of Baghdad early Thursday and freed at least 17 people who were snatched a day earlier in a mass kidnapping of about 85 workers and family members at the end of a factory shift. ...

A National Security Ministry official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters, told The Associated Press that several insurgents holding the kidnap victims were captured during the Thursday morning raid on the farm in the Mishada area, about 20 miles north of the capital.

Police operations were continuing in the area, the official said, in a bid to locate the rest of the victims who were taken at the end of the day shift at al-Nasr General Complex, a former military plant that now makes metal doors, windows and pipes.

The raid brings the number of hostages liberated to over 50, with some negotiating their own release, sometimes through subterfuge. One hostage showed the Sunni kidnapper a forged ID that listed him as a fellow Sunni, rather than the Shi'ite he is.

The raid helps the Iraqi police gain more credibility with the Iraqi people, even if some Americans still consider them ineffective. Another development noted by the AP may also impact another misconception. According to the same article, the media has misreported the assassination that killed Saddam Hussein's attorney. They have repeated the defense team's claim that the assassins wore the uniforms of Iraqi police when they abducted Obeidi. However, the New York Times quoted Obeidi's widow to state that the assassins wore civilian clothes, not police uniforms.

If it seems that the police can't catch a break, it may be that people want to underestimate them to keep the notion alive that the Iraqi people are incapable of progress -- and that our mission there is hopeless. The performance of both the Iraqi police and army continue to improve, and we can expect to see more instances like this where the Iraqis take care of the insurgents and criminals themselves.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 22, 2006 7:47 AM

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