And this part is unexpected: they were comprised of both Shiites and Sunnis. From Reuters:
NAJAF, Iraq (Reuters) – U.S. and Iraqi forces killed 250 gunmen in a fierce battle involving U.S. tanks and helicopters on the outskirts of the Shi’ite holy city of Najaf on Sunday, a senior Iraqi police officer said.
The day-long battle was continuing after nightfall, Colonel Ali Nomas told Reuters, as tens of thousands of pilgrims converged on the nearby city of Kerbala for the climax of the Ashura commemorations.
A U.S. helicopter was shot down in the fighting, Iraq security sources said. The U.S. military declined comment. A Reuters reporter saw a helicopter come down trailing smoke.
Shi’ite political sources said the gunmen appeared to be both Sunni Arabs and Shi’ites loyal to a cleric called Ahmed Hassani.
The US military isn’t commenting on the helicopter that crashed because the mission is still ongoing, but I expect we’ll have more successful missions where we send terrorists to their waiting virgins. The question is will the media actually report on our and the Iraqi troops’ successes or will they completely ignore them?
Link via Hot Air.