And Here We Go Again (See below)
U.S. warplanes renew bombing of Iraq targets
By Dean Yates
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - U.S. warplanes have bombed targets in Iraq in air strikes that resumed last week for the first time in more than six months after the shooting down of three U.S. helicopters.
The renewed air strikes on Sunday came as Iraq's interim foreign minister promised that local leaders would meet a December deadline for setting out a path towards self-rule.
In the new air strikes, F-16 fighter-bombers dropped three 500-pound bombs near the flashpoint town of Falluja, in the area west of Baghdad where 16 American soldiers were killed when a U.S. Chinook helicopter was downed a week ago.
The air strikes early on Sunday followed attacks on U.S. troops, a U.S. military source said. He had no precise details.
Warplanes dropped 500-pound bombs on suspected guerrilla hideouts on Friday night around Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, 110 miles north of Baghdad, where a U.S. Black Hawk helicopter was shot down that day, killing all six aboard.
Attacks on U.S. troops have left 150 dead in Iraq since President George W. Bush declared major combat over on May 1. Washington blames the attacks on loyalists of ousted Iraqi leader Saddam and foreign Muslim militants.
U.S. troops in Tikrit have launched a new operation in the hostile area to hunt down guerrillas. "If necessary, we'll carry out more shows of force," said Major Josslyn Aberle, spokeswoman for the 4th Infantry Division in Tikrit.
On Saturday, the International Committee of the Red Cross said it was temporarily closing its offices in Baghdad and Basra. But the head of the Basra delegation said some foreign staff would stay in southern Iraq.
An October 27 suicide car bomb attack on the ICRC headquarters in Baghdad killed 12 people.