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1/26/04 - IRAQIS FIGHT TERRORISM - 2004-01-28

More Iraqi civilians are coming forward with information about roadside bombs, planned attacks, and suspicious neighbors. That's what happened in al-Moalemeen, a Shiite Muslim neighborhood in southeastern Baghdad.

For six months, three families lived there quietly until neighbors tipped off U.S.-led coalition forces that the men were acting suspicious. When coalition soldiers raided the house, the men inside started shooting at them. When it was over, the men -- a Syrian and two Yemenis -- were dead. Inside the house, U.S. troops found a cache of automatic weapons, grenades, and explosives. “This was a terrorist safe-house," Iraqi Police Captain Ali Dawoud said. Neighbor Almas Zia Youssef told the Associated Press news service, “Had I known who they were, I would have turned them in myself. This is terrorism. This is tarnishing the image of my country."

General Mark Kimmit, U.S. Deputy Operations Director in Iraq, says Iraqis are fed up with foreign terrorists and other Baathist regime thugs:

“We have a significant amount of intelligence, increasing daily, that is being provided by local Iraqi citizens who understand that these terrorists and these criminals are not acting in their best interest and they volunteer that information. They want to keep their neighborhoods safe.”

The coalition is winning the trust and respect of the Iraqi people. Bilal Ibrahim is glad the coalition came and wants the terrorism out. "We were liberated from oppression that lasted for thirty-five years," he said. "No jihad (holy war) or resistance [against the coalition] is needed at all."