Sanchez warns of increased violence

08 December 2003
The leader of US forces in Iraq, Ricardo Sanchez, on 7 December warned that the US-coalition must brace itself for an increase in militant attacks in the country. 'We expect to see an increase in violence as we move toward sovereignty at the end of June,' he said, speaking about the transfer of political power. Sanchez said he believed that capturing former Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein - believed to be hiding in Western Iraq - would not stop militant attacks against coalition forces operating in Iraq. 'The killing or capturing of Saddam Hussein will have an impact on the level of violence, but it will not end it,' he said.

Sanchez's comments came shortly after a roadside bomb attack in the northern city of Mosul killed one US soldier and injured two others. The incident brought to 192 the number of US soldiers killed in hostile situations in Iraq since US President Bush called an end to major combat operations on 1 May.

Despite the continued attacks against US soldiers in Iraq, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who was in Baghdad for a one-day visit on 6 December, emphasised that the US' military plans continued to be right for the situation. 'I am convinced that the direction that we set from the outset is the right one and that is being executed exceedingly well, and that the security circumstances in the country will be passed over time to Iraqi security forces of various types, and that they will be able to do it,' he said.

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