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'We shoot them down like the morons they are': US general
Posted: Wednesday, April 9, 2003

By Lindsay Murdoch Herald Correspondent south of Baghdad
April 9 2003, 11:05 AM,

Hundreds of Muslim fighters, many of them non-Iraqis, were putting up a stronger fight for Baghdad than Iraq's Republican Guard or the regular army, a top United States military officer said yesterday.

"They stand, they fight, sometimes they run when we engage them," Brigadier-General John Kelly said.

"But often they run into our machine guns and we shoot them down like the morons they are."

General Kelly, assistant commander of the about 20,000-strong 1st Marine Division, said US intelligence indicated that there might be anywhere between 500 and 5000 of the fighters, whom he described as terrorists.

"They appear willing to die. We are trying our best to help them out in that endeavour," he said.

General Kelly said a captured Syrian fighter who had his leg blown off had refused medical help. "They are arrogant. They are determined," he said.

The fighters were armed with AK47 rifles and hand-held rockets, he said.

"We are finding them more dangerous than the conventional Iraqi units."

General Kelly said pockets of the Republican Guard and Iraq's regular army were engaging thousands of US marines who had entered Baghdad from the north-east after seizing control of bridges across the Tigris River.

The resistance was unco-ordinated, he said.

"There's no shifting of forces ... there are no reinforcements ... there is no cohesion to the whole thing."

Any rational military command would have surrendered by now, he said.

"There can be no escape."

General Kelly said marines were about to seize buildings and land in Baghdad that were of strategic importance.

"Once we take ground we tend not to give it up."

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