Iraqi Fighters Launch
Mosul Uprising

(AP) -- The Iraqi government rushed reinforcements to the country's third-largest city, Mosul, seeking to quell a deadly militant uprising that U.S. officials suspected may be in support of the resistance in Fallujah - now said to be under 80 percent U.S. control.
Police in Mosul largely disappeared from the streets, residents reported Friday, and gangs of armed men brandishing automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenade launchers roamed the city, 362 kilometers north of Baghdad. Responding to the crisis, Iraqi authorities dismissed Mosul's police chief after local officials reported that officers were abandoning their stations to militants without firing a shot.
Four U.S. helicopters were hit by insurgent groundfire in two separate attacks near Fallujah, though their uninjured crews were able to return to base safely, the U.S. military said yesterday.
Two Kiowa choppers were hit before dawn in an ambush by insurgents firing rocket-propelled grenades and machines guns when U.S. pilots flew in to investigate a body lying near a car. Two Apache helicopters also came under small arms fire during a patrol southeast of Fallujah late Friday.
Earlier Friday, insurgents shot down a U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter north of Baghdad, wounding three crew members, the military said. It was the third downed helicopter this week after two Marine Super Cobras succumbed to ground fire in the Fallujah operation.
In Fallujah, U.S. troops pushed insurgents into a narrow corner in the southern end of the city after a four-day assault that the U.S. military says has killed about 600 of them. Twenty-two Americans have been killed and about about 170 wounded.
Yesterday, heavy U.S. airstrikes and artillery fire continued in Fallujah through the morning after American warplanes launched three dozen bombing raids overnight.
U.S. forces reported that mortar fire from inside the city has nearly ceased while insurgent mortar attacks have been stepped up against U.S. positions and bases outside of Fallujah.
Two mosques in the city were also hit late Friday after troops reported sniper fire from inside. One mosque was hit by a .50 caliber machine gun from an attack helicopter while warplanes dropped four bombs on the second, destroying its minarets.
Despite the apparent success in Fallujah, violence flared elsewhere in the volatile Sunni Muslim areas, including Mosul, where attacks Thursday killed a U.S. soldier. Another soldier was killed in Baghdad as clashes erupted Friday in at least four neighborhoods of the capital. Clashes also broke out from Hawija and Tal Afar in the north to Samarra - where the police chief was also fired - and Ramadi in central Iraq.
The most serious incidents took place in Mosul, a city of about 1 million people, where fighting raged for a second day. On Friday, gunmen attacked the headquarters of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party in an hourlong battle that left six assailants dead, a party member said.
Militants also burned down the offices of another Kurdish political party, the Islamic Union of Kurdistan, after ordering people inside the building to evacuate it, according to Ghibwar Faiqa, a senior party member.
Yesterday, residents reported relative calm as patrols of Iraqi National Guards roamed some parts of the city, while insurgents were seen in other parts of the city.
The U.S. military said that 10 Iraqi National Guards were killed since mass clashes erupted Thursday night.
Militants also assassinated the head of the city's anti-crime task force, Brig. Gen. Mowaffaq Mohammed Dahham, and set fire to his home.
"With the start of operations in Fallujah a few days ago, we expected that there would be some reaction here in Mosul," Brigadier General Carter Ham, commander of U.S. forces in the city, told CNN from Mosul.
Ham said he doubted the Mosul attackers were insurgents who fled Fallujah and said most "were from the northern part of Iraq, in and around Mosul and the Tigris River valley that's south of the city."
In a telephone interview with Al-Jazeera television, Saif al-Deen al-Baghdadi, an official of the insurgents' political office, urged militants to fight U.S. forces outside Fallujah.
"I call upon the scores or hundreds of the brothers from the mujahedeen ... to press the American forces outside" Fallujah, al-Baghdadi said.
"We chose the path of armed jihad and say clearly that ridding Iraq of the occupation will not be done by ballots. Ayad Allawi's government ... represents the fundamentalist right-wing of the White House and not the Iraqi people," he said - a reference to Iraq's prime minister who gave to the go-ahead for the Fallujah invasion.
In addition to firing the Mosul police chief, Iraqi authorities also dispatched four battalions of the Iraqi National Guard from garrisons along the Syrian and Iranian borders.



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