Morning Report: April 18, 2006

US Marines repel coordinated assault. The Middle Ground has an analysis of this AP/Yahoo article in which 'U.S. troops repelled an attack Monday by Sunni Arab insurgents who used suicide car bombs, rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons in a coordinated assault against this city's main government building and two U.S. observation posts.' Kat writes: 'The most interesting part of the entire article which pretty much tells you what sparked the uptick in attacks was all the way at the bottom: Another 17 bodies of people believed victims of sectarian reprisal killings were found Monday, including one in Basra and the rest in Baghdad. They included the body of Taha al-Mutlaq, brother of leading Sunni Arab politician Saleh al-Mutlaq, who was found in a Shiite area of west Baghdad. The problem of course is that he could have been killed by Shia militia. ... In any case, it certainly could serve to harden Mutlaq's position against the Dawa or Sciri Shia in the Assembly. One would need to be omniscient to know for sure what happened, but its very likely the Sunni insurgents decided to take reprisals against anyone they thought was involved.' She also thinks the numbers look a little funny: 'I support the effort there and our soldiers, but is anyone else wondering why in Ramadi 50 insurgents can seem to coalesce and attack our forces unnoticed in a secure area? We don't have more lookouts or patrols? Or, does anyone notice that every time an attack is being noted out of this area, somebody there consistently gives the number as "50"? Who commands Ramadi? Is the commander a body count guy? Is this coming from our Iraqi counterparts who may be boosting the number of insurgents to off set the number of casualties his unit took? Two Iraqi soldiers died. Unknown wounded. Five insurgents died. Unknown wounded. But they fought of 50 attackers? And only took two KIA?' Read the full post at the link. (AP via Yahoo, TMG)

Names. Debka:
The ninth victim of the Palestinian suicide attack at the old Tel Aviv bus station identified as Marcelle Cohen, 72, a French tourist. Binyamin Haputa, 46, from Lod, the security guard at the falafel kiosk, took the full force of the blast when he asked the killer to open his bag. Phillip Belahson, 45 from Ashdod, was shopping for Passover gifts with two of his 4 children. The other victims were Viktor Erez, 60, from Givatayim, two foreign workers from Romania, Rosalia Basania, 48, and Budha Piroshke, 50; Lilly Younes, 43, from Oranit, Ariel Darhi, 31, from Bat Yam, and David Shaulov, 29, from Holon.