The afternoon briefing just finished. Here is the status report from Iraq, which Im sure you will find to be very different from what you here on the news this evening. Ramadi, where 12 Marines died earlier this week, was quiet today. In fact, a local shaik came out last night and revealed the names of 11 belligerents in the city, who have subsequently been taken into custody. Al Kut, which was overrun by Sadrs militia, is expected to be under complete Coalition control by late this evening or early tomorrow morning. There have been only minor casualties to Coaltion forces inflicted by Sadrs militia, which is using what General Kimmitt described as "shoot and scoot" tactics. There is cessation of offensive operations in Fallujah, which was orchestrated at the request of the Iraqi governing council. The council has sent a delegation to bring food and medicine to the people there, and to see if progress can be made with Fallujahs leadership to prevent the need for additional Coalition action. The one sore spot remains Al Najaf. Sadrs forces are dominant in the city, but Coalition forces are well positioned outside. The strategy is to fall back in light of the 1.2 million pilgrims traveling for the Shia holiday. I would not expect this reserve to last long. These are facts confirmed by CJTF-7. And again, this represents a very different picture than the slices of violence that permeate the news.
The sun is fading, and I must make my way back to my hotel, which I understand had another close call with a mortar. Because of security measures, I doubt I will be able to post anything else until tomorrow. Until then, Good Friday.
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