On March 2, an American Special Forces team along with Iraqi SWAT (ISWAT) moved on a terrorist cell near Tal Afar. There was specific intelligence that this cell had conducted assassinations and other attacks against Iraqis and Americans. As ISWAT and Special Forces closed in on the target, the enemy answered with bullets. Bullets ripped through an ISWAT truck, killing three police. Bullets struck a Special Forces vehicle and a tight firefight followed. The enemy was well prepared. Muzzles flashed from different locations. The fighting continued until nine enemy were killed and eight suspects captured. Three civilians were wounded along with three police wounded and three killed, for a total of a dozen people killed.
Ammunition, grenades and other weapons were captured, but after that Special Forces/ISWAT mission, attacks in the vicinity decreased. Tal Afar, formerly “Al Qaeda City,” is mostly quiet these days. Normally we have far less than a hundred soldiers in the city, but we do need money for civil affairs projects. This money truly is critical. Otherwise, the situation improves, though without investment this could be reversed.
The few remaining serious troublemakers are being hacked off and mulched in these incessant operations, which gives the enemy no rest (in the old days, when they were murdering Iraqis and Americans by the thousands, AQI used Tal Afar for training and R&R). These types of terrorists used to lay up with prostitutes in downtown Tal Afar, which isn’t so uncommon – for years brothels have been an excellent source of information against al Qaeda from Mosul to Baghdad. The al Qaeda terrorists don’t save themselves for the seventy two virgins promised to suicide bombers. They love drugs, prostitutes, and the power of the gun. The gay al Qaeda informant in Moment of Truth in Iraq is classic. Whenever his al Qaeda lovers abused him, he supplied American forces information to kill them.
The writing on his chest says “Mujahadeen Tal Afar.” American soldiers told me this image was captured in a raid. The ring and watch on his right hand and wrist indicate he is a “holy warrior,” although his beard might have been shaved as cover. Officers told me this guy was killed, but they had no ready confirmation. In any case, it would be interesting to see the faces of al Qaeda financiers in places like Saudi Arabia, if they saw how their money is being spent. And that’s the truth about al Qaeda.
Today I am in Iraq. Tomorrow Europe, and within the week, back to Texas. About a month later, I should be back in what is left of the war. There is relatively little fighting going on these days.
Please buy a copy of Moment of Truth in Iraq. The book will ship immediately if you buy here, and proceeds will help me get back to Iraq and Afghanistan. The book will arrive in stores on 23 April.
[Note from Webmaster]: I spoke to Michael by phone shortly after publishing this article. He was standing in an airport in Irbil, Iraq waiting to board a flight. I mentioned to him about one of the comments pointing out the photo being altered. He wanted me to convey that he was aware that the text appearing across the man’s chest was not a tattoo. He also advised that the photo was as he received it, and that several Iraq men he had shown it to had also commented about the writing.