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[casi] BBC: US faces Iraq 'guerrilla war'

US faces Iraq 'guerrilla war'

The US chief of military operations in Iraq has
admitted that attacks against American troops in the
country bear the hallmarks of a "classic
guerrilla-type campaign".
His comments - on a day that saw one soldier killed
and a missile fired at a US cargo plane - represent a
remarkable acknowledgement, the BBC's Nick Childs at
the Pentagon says.

Pentagon officials have been reluctant until now to
admit to a guerrilla campaign, describing the attacks
as uncoordinated violence by remnants of the Baathist

"I think describing it as guerrilla tactics is a
proper way to describe it in strictly military terms,"
US Central Command head General John Abizaid said at
the first briefing in his new job.

"It's low intensity but it's war however you describe

General Abizaid's comments came as US soldiers posted
in Iraq spoke out in the media expressing frustration
and fear about the growing number of attacks on US

Public anxiety about events on the ground in Iraq is
growing in the US and beginning to present real
political problems for the Bush administration, our
correspondent says.

In Wednesday's attacks:

*One soldier died and two were injured in an explosion
which hit their convoy as they travelled west of the
capital Baghdad, near Abu Ghraib

*A surface-to-air missile was fired at an American
transport plane as it landed at Baghdad airport, in
what a spokesman said was possibly the first such
attack during the conflict

*The pro-American mayor of the western Iraqi town of
Haditha and one of his sons were shot and killed

*At least three other US soldiers were wounded in
separate attacks in Baghdad.

'More protection'

Correspondents say US forces in Iraq are becoming
increasingly nervous and desperate to return home.

One soldier at the scene of Wednesday's convoy blast
wept and another raked the ground with machine gun

"We need more protection. We've seen enough. We've
stayed in Iraq long enough," one soldier travelling in
the convoy said.

And in interviews with American television network
ABC, other US servicemen in Iraq expressed their

"If Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was here, I'd
ask him for his resignation," said a member of the 3rd
Infantry Division based in the flashpoint town
Falluja, west of Baghdad.

"I don't have any clue as to why we are still in
Iraq," said another.

There is growing anger in the United States about
delays in bringing troops home - particularly from the
3rd Infantry Division which helped conquer Baghdad.

Their return has been delayed four times. General
Abizaid said they would be returning in September, but
added their homecoming was conditional on replacements
being ready.

The BBC's Peter Greste says Iraqis working with
Americans are also becoming increasingly frightened
about the risk to their own lives.

He says translators are worried about reprisals from
the militias.

'Cell structure'

General Abizaid said that US military commanders had
expected attacks on US forces to increase throughout
July because of the number of public holidays
associated with the former Baathist regime that fall
within the period.

He described the current resistance as coming from
mid-level Baath party members and security forces and
former soldiers from Iraq's Republican Guard in
addition to "significant terrorist groups".

He said they appeared to be organised in cells of six
to eight people and were receiving financial
assistance from regional level leaders of the former
Baathist regime.

"We take casualties and we cause casualties because we
are at war," he said.

More than 30 US troops have been killed as a result of
hostile action since US President George W Bush
declared major combat over on 1 May.

Since then the US has increased its forces to 148,000
while the UK contribution has dropped to 11,000.

Senator John Kerry of the opposition Democratic Party
in the US, a presidential hopeful, said the Bush
administration should move quickly to bring other
countries into the post-war effort to take the focus
off American troops.

"The obligation of the United States Government and
the president is to rapidly internationalise the
effort in Iraq, get the target off of American troops,
bring other people, particularly Muslim-speaking and
Arabic-speaking Muslim troops, into the region," he
told CNN.

The White House played down suggestions of falling
morale among US troops in Iraq.

"The troops recognise that what they are doing is very
important - helping secure and stabilise Iraq so that
it can move towards freedom and democracy," said Scott
McClellan, chief spokesman for US President George W

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