BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - The U.S. military said
Monday it plans to expand its prisons across Iraq to
hold as many as 16,000 detainees, as the relentless
insurgency shows no sign of letup one year after the
transfer of sovereignty to Iraqi authorities.
The plans were announced on a day three U.S. Army
soldiers were killed - two pilots whose helicopter
crashed north of Baghdad and a soldier who was shot
in the capital. At least four Iraqis died in a car
bomb attack in the capital.
The AH-64 crashed in Mishahda, 20 miles north of the
capital, and witness Mohammed Naji told Associated
Press Television News he saw two helicopters flying
toward Mishahda when "a rocket hit one of them and
destroyed it completely in the air."
The prison population at three military complexes
throughout the country - Abu Ghraib, Camp Bucca and
Camp Cropper - has nearly doubled from 5,435 in June
2004 to 10,002 now, said Lt. Col. Guy Rudisill, a
spokesman for detainee operations in Iraq. Some 400
non-Iraqis are among the inmates, according to the
"We are past the normal capacity for both Abu Ghraib
and Camp Bucca. We are at surge capacity," Rudisill
said. "We are not at normal capacity for Camp
The burgeoning prison population has forced the
U.S. military to begin renovations on existing
facilities, and work has also begun on restoring an
old Iraqi military barracks near Sulaimaniyah, 160
miles northeast of Baghdad.
The facility, to be called Fort Suse, is expected to
be completed by Sept. 30 and will have room for
2,000 new detainees, Rudisill said.
All renovations should be done by February and are
expected to make room for 16,000 detainees in Iraq,
Two weeks ago, the military completed a new
400-detainee compound at Abu Ghraib, which the U.S.
government sought to tear down after it became a
symbol of an abuse scandal. It was kept in service
after the Iraqi government objected. A new compound
of the same size should be finished by the end of
July at Abu Ghraib, Rudisill said.
The spokesman attributed the rise in the number of
prisoners to "successful ongoing military operations
against the insurgency and terrorists."
Those operations, however, have not stemmed the
daily carnage demoralizing the country of 26 million
people. With the Sunni Arab-dominated insurgency
targeting the Shiite majority, the wave of killings
has slowly been pushing the country toward civil
Dozens of foreign fighters have been reported killed
in U.S.-led offensives in recent months, including
Operation Spear at the porous Syrian border last
week, but the deaths have had little effect on the
resolve and ability of suicide bombers to strike at
Al-Qaida in Iraq, headed by Jordanian-born extremist
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, has claimed responsibility for
many of the attacks carried out by such fighters,
but there are other insurgent groups - including
On Monday, the U.S. military raised the death toll
in last week's Fallujah attack to six, announcing
that three women service members were killed in the
ambush on an American convoy.
At least 1,740 members of the U.S. military have
died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March
2003, according to an Associated Press count. At
least 1,334 died as a result of hostile action. The
figures include five military civilians.
There have been positive developments in the year
since the June 28, 2004 handover, the most notable
being the election of the 275-member National
Assembly on Jan. 30, Iraq's first free vote in a
half-century. The assembly appointed the rest of the
government the following month.
Smaller gains have been made as well.
The number of telephone and Internet subscribers has
increased nearly threefold, according to the
Washington-based Brookings Institution, and the
number of trained Iraqi judges has doubled.
However, the insurgency - estimated at about 16,000
Iraqi militants and foreign fighters - has
drastically overshadowed the improvements and
created havoc around the country. The situation has
forced the implementation of a daily 11 p.m. curfew
Car bombings have become one of the most devastating
methods used by the insurgency. There have been more
than 484 since the handover, killing at least 2,221
people and wounding more than 5,574, according to an
Unemployment remained high at 27-40 percent in May
compared with 30-40 percent in June 2004. About $5
billion of U.S. money still remains from the $18.4
billion reconstruction package approved in 2003,
according to the House Appropriations foreign