A top US military officer said hundreds of so-called Islamic fighters, including many non-Iraqis, were putting up a stronger fight for Baghdad than Iraq’s Republican Guard or regular army. “They stand, they fight, sometimes they run when we engage them,” said Brigadier-General John Kelly. “But often they run into our machine-guns and we shoot them down like the morons they are.” General Kelly, assistant commander of the 1st Marine Division, told The Age that US intelligence indicated there might be anywhere between 500 and 5000 of the fighters, whom he described as terrorists. “They seem to have come to Iraq for their summer vacation to kill American, British and Australian soldiers,” he said. “They appear willing to die. We are trying our best to help them out in that endeavour.” [April 9, 2003, The Age]

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