Los Angeles Times now reports -- in the latest from its Baghdad correspondent on the "audacious" attack on Abu Ghraib prison by "40 and 60 heavily armed men [who] swarmed the prison, detonating two car bombs and peppering the facility with rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms and mortar fire" -- that "44 U.S. troops and 13 Iraqi detainees" were wounded.
The number of those seriously wounded and evacuated has risen: "Six U.S. soldiers [up from three] and one Iraqi detainee [none reported earlier]." Also new:
Al Qaeda said the gunbattle lasted most of the night -- rather than the 40 minutes the U.S. military claims -- and promises more such attacks "across the land of Mesopotamia" along with a film of yesterday's attack. (See "Al Qaeda Claims Raid on Iraq's Abu Ghraib Prison" below.)
Adds The New York Times:
CAPTION: In this photo released by the U.S. Army Sunday, April 3, 2005, U.S. Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the U.S. commander in Iraq, spends time with paperwork at Camp Victory, near Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday April 2, 2005. Dozens of insurgents attacked the Abu Ghraib prison in western Baghdad Sunday, with car bombs, gunfire, and rocket propelled grenades. The 40-minute clash killed one insurgent and injured 44 U.S. forces and 13 prisoners, U.S. military officials said.(AP Photo/U.S. Army, Spc. Mary Rose) (Yahoo News/AP)
Al Qaeda Claims Raid on Iraq's Abu Ghraib Prison
59 minutes ago
DUBAI (Reuters) - Al Qaeda's wing in Iraq Sunday claimed responsibility for a brazen overnight raid on Abu Ghraib prison that wounded 44 U.S. soldiers, according to an Internet statement, and said more attacks would follow. ...
"Your brothers in the al Qaeda Organization (for Holy War) in Iraq launched a well-planned attack on Abu Ghraib prison, where Muslim women and men are held," said the statement posted on a Web site used by Islamists.
It said suicide car bombs and missile strikes on U.S. forces preceded a gunbattle that lasted most of the night.
"Columns of smoke were seen rising from the crusaders' bases," the statement said. "This battle is part of a series of raids ... which began yesterday across the land of Mesopotamia."
The group said it would provide a film of the attack soon. ...
Update [2005-4-2 22:9:50 by susanhbu]: From the LA Times, by Edmund Sanders in Baghdad:
Between 40 and 60 heavily armed men swarmed the prison, detonating two car bombs and peppering the facility with rocket-propelled grenades and small arms and mortar fire.
"First they attacked at one corner to make us think that's where they were coming from, then they attacked at another corner," said Lt. Col. Guy Rudisill, military spokesman for detainee affairs. "This was a well-coordinated attack. This is something that we have not seen before."
At least one insurgent was killed ... Three U.S. soldiers suffered serious wounds and were evacuated for treatment ... Prisoners inside the facility suffered mostly shrapnel and bullet wounds in the attack, which occurred at about 7 p.m.
[I]nsurgents frequently have lobbed mortar rounds inside but not engaged in the type of head-on assault that took place Saturday. Insurgents typically have preferred to remain hidden, working in small groups or on suicide missions, and attacking from afar with mortar rounds and rockets.
The attack Saturday was one of the largest against U.S. forces anywhere in Iraq since the Jan. 30 Iraqi national elections.
It was unclear whether attackers hoped to free detainees, but, "No prisoners were compromised," said Lt. Col. Steven Boylon, a military spokesman in Baghdad.
Update [2005-4-2 15:36:35 by susanhbu]: From The New York Times's Edward Wong:
BAGHDAD, Iraq, April 3 - Using suicide car bombs and an array of weapons, scores of insurgents made the biggest assault yet on the American-controlled Abu Ghraib prison on Saturday evening, American military officials said. At least 20 American soldiers and marines were wounded.
Forty to 60 insurgents attacked the prison from opposite directions, but were repelled by the Americans in a pitched battle that lasted for 30 to 40 minutes, the officials said. They added that they knew of only one insurgent who had been killed, but said it was almost certain the guerrillas suffered additional casualties.
The assault appeared to be an attempt to break prisoners out of a part of the center that is controlled by Iraqi security forces, said Lt. Col. Guy Rudisill, a spokesman for the American detainee system in Iraq.
The assault was so intense that the American troops at the prison called in three Apache attack helicopters and a Marine infantry company, the colonel said. The marines quickly secured the area around the prison. Of the 20 Americans hurt, 18 had only minor wounds, Colonel Rudisill said.
The attack was the latest in a recent pattern of large, well-organized bands of guerrillas battling American forces.
On March 23, American troops helped Iraqi forces overrun a lakeside training camp of scores of insurgents northwest of Baghdad. Four days earlier, an American convoy fended off an ambush by 40 to 50 insurgents southeast of the capital.
The Americans are holding 3,446 detainees in Abu Ghraib, where eight American soldiers were charged last year with prisoner abuse. Iraqi security forces are also holding prisoners there, though Colonel Rudisill said that he did not know how many the Iraqis had in custody.
The attack began after 7 p.m., when a suicide car bomber tried ramming into the northeast corner of the prison, the colonel said. Insurgents there then opened up with small arms and mortar fire. At the southwest corner, another suicide car bomber exploded, followed by more guerrilla fire.
On Saturday morning, a car bomb exploded at a police station in the town of Khan Bani Saad, 10 miles north of Baghdad, killing four policemen and one civilian ...
Also on Saturday, the American military said a marine was killed the previous day by small-arms fire in Ramadi.
Update [2005-4-2 15:45:44 by susanhbu]: AP story:
Iraq's Abu Ghraib Prison Attacked; 32 Hurt
9 minutes ago
By MARIAM FAM, Associated Press Writer
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Insurgents attacked the Abu Ghraib prison west of Baghdad, injuring 20 U.S. forces and 12 prisoners on Saturday while six people were killed elsewhere in Iraq following a period of declining attacks that had raised hopes the insurgency might be weakening.
At least 40 militants fired rocket-propelled grenades and set off two car bombs at the infamous prison as darkness fell, 1st Lt. Adam Rondeau said. Soldiers and Marines stationed at the detention facility responded, and the resulting clash and gunfight lasted about 40 minutes.
"This was obviously a very well-organized attack and a very big attack," Rondeau said. ...
It wasn't immediately known if any of the insurgents carrying out the attack were arrested or suffered casualties. Plumes of smoke were seen rising from the area. ...
Iraqis hold a small demonstration in Ramadi, Iraq Sunday, April 3, 2005, to protest against a raid on the al-Aziz al-Hakim mosque by U.S. forces Saturday night, according to witnesses. Four men detained by the U.S. troops were security and cleaning workers at the mosque, witnesses said. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)
Iraqis gather inside the al-Aziz al-Hakim mosque in Ramadi, Iraq Sunday, April 3, 2005, after a raid by U.S. forces Saturday night, according to witnesses. Local residents held a demonstration to protest against the raid and the detention of four men inside, who they say were security and cleaning workers at the mosque. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)