WASHINGTON – Two members of Iraq's new Civil Defense Corps (search) have been detained in connection with weekend attacks in Fallujah that left 25 Iraqis dead, Pentagon officials said Thursday.
The action followed the detention of the mayor of Fallujah (search), who had submitted his resignation a few days before the Saturday assaults. The two attacks took place simultaneously against an Iraqi police station and a Civil Defense Corps compound.
Most of the dead were outgunned Iraqi policemen. The attackers cut telephone lines to their station, leaving them unable to call for help from nearby American and Iraqi forces.
Military officials are looking at ways to improve the response of U.S. forces in similar situations, said Brig. Gen. David Rodriguez, the deputy director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
He said he had no conclusions on the degree to which insurgents had infiltrated Iraq's new security agencies.
"They were obviously vetted and were able to slip through somehow," Rodriguez told reporters at the Pentagon. But he added the detainees were only suspected of having information about the attack, and were being interrogated.
At least four attackers were killed and two were captured, Iraqi authorities have said.
Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita said one of the dead was a former major in the Iraqi army under Saddam Hussein (search). There had been some earlier suggestions that the attackers were foreigners, perhaps al-Qaida, but senior military officials have since said all were Iraqis.
"We continue to do the interrogations and search for the answers on who was actually behind it," Di Rita said.
More than 30 people were wounded, and the attackers freed dozens of prisoners at the police station. The assault raised questions about whether Iraqi security forces are ready to take the front line against the insurgency when the United States hands over power to the Iraqis on June 30.
Pentagon officials said the Civil Defense Corps troops handled themselves well, first repulsing the attack on their compound then going to the aid of the police.