Iraqi Jihad Update by Dave Clark for AFP, :
BAGHDAD (AFP) – An eerie calm has descended on Baghdad during the weekly day of prayers after a Ramadan of unprecedented bloodshed in Iraq, while US troops scoured the city for a missing soldier.
Reports of violence in the war torn capital dropped in the three days since the end of the Islamic holy month, in part because thousands of US troops are deployed in the city hunting a comrade who was kidnapped by masked gunmen.
Police found the bodies of 11 murder victims on Thursday and overnight, a US military spokeswoman said Friday, a toll considered low by the standards of Baghdad’s vicious dirty war between rival Sunni and Shiite death squads.
On Friday, US troops were still manning cordons around the Karrada district, where the soldier was kidnapped on Monday, and on the approaches to Sadr City, the Shiite militia bastion where they fear he is being held.
Meanwhile, with US casualties for the month so far running at their highest level in a year and 24 Iraqi police killed in an insurgent ambush on Thursday, the Al-Qaeda militant group issued a triumphant statement.
“We call on all mujahideen… to support the young Islamic state in Iraq. Weakness has gripped the infidel nations. The first signs of victory can be seen on the horizon,” the group said in an Internet statement.
The message, which could not be independently authenticated, was issued in the name of the self-proclaimed Islamic Emirate of Iraq, which was declared on October 15 by a Qaeda-led coalition of Sunni insurgent groups.
His family report that he was seized from their home by gunmen, and the US military has said that Wednesday’s raid was in part following up on a tip that his kidnappers were based in a Sadr City mosque.