Islamists Escalate Fight in Northern Iraq

(Christian Science Monitor) Scott Peterson - Some 650 al Qaeda-backed Islamic militants, the Ansar al-Islam ("Soldiers of God"), are based in northern Iraq. Analysts say that Ansar numbers have grown in recent months and include 80 or so Arabs and others trained by al Qaeda in Afghanistan. In October 2001, 42 Kurdish fighters were ambushed by Ansar, and then butchered. Ansar has dug into the mountains and controls 18 villages, local commanders say.

2002-11-25 00:00:00

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