AAM: "Now they're taking their breath..."
MILES O'BRIEN: In Iraq it appears that horrible spasm of violence is tapering off, at least in Baghdad, now that the holy month of Ramadan is over. The numbers are grim. On average, 40 Iraqis died in sectarian violence every day. The death toll among American troops in October stands at 96. It's the most since last October when the same number died.
Michael Ware is in the capital with more. Michael.
MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Miles, we see that whilst the violence does continue, as the American military points out, in the last couple of days there has been a lull here in Baghdad. Nonetheless, that has to be taken in a particular context.
But let's have a look at what a U.S. military spokesman, Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, had to say yesterday about the drop in violence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAJ. GEN. WILLIAM CALDWELL, SPOKESMAN, MULTINATIONAL FORCE IRAQ: The violence is focused along Sunni-Shia ethnic fault lines, predominately outside the cleared focus areas. With the end of Ramadan, we have seen a decrease in the levels of violence; but this has only been in the past few days, and we'll have to wait to see if this decrease proves to be a trend.
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WARE: Now, Gen. Caldwell has accurately hit the nail on the head. This lull is a direct result of the end of the holy month of Ramadan. We've just been through the Festival of Eid, which is essentially Christmas and Easter and the Fourth of July wrapped up together in a three-day festival. So the insurgents launched their month-long offensive. They're now taking their breath, literally, as their foot soldiers celebrate with their families.
Also, this would not be a time for the insurgents to attack. It would play badly with their constituency. So this is just a moment of intake of breath and Gen. Caldwell is right, we need to see if this continues.
Meanwhile, violence around the city is continuing, 29 police officers were killed yesterday, just 45 minutes from the city -- Miles.
M. O'BRIEN: Michael Ware in Baghdad, thank you very much.
MILES O'BRIEN: In Iraq, a lull in violence in Baghdad now that Ramadan is over, but not so elsewhere. A bloody battle northeast of Baghdad to tell you about. At least 25 Iraqi police killed, 20 more wounded in a fight with insurgents yesterday.
Michael Ware is in Baghdad with more.
WARE: Hi, Miles.
Yeah, this incident north of Baghdad in Diyala province is fascinating, Miles. I mean, this tells us so much.
What we've seen in Diyala province, there's Sunni insurgents, there's al Qaeda, and there's also large presence of Shia militias. So this very much is a fault line, this province, with sectarian violence and with insurgent violence.
Over the last two Sundays, what we've seen is very well-crafted insurgent attacks against police recruits, busloads of them, as they're heading home on leave or for holiday. They've been ambushed. Some have been killed, executed, and dozens have been kidnapped and they remain missing. So on Sunday, this would happen for the second time in a row.
What's now happened is that the local police forces were fed information to say you may be able to find some of the kidnapped police in this location. So they mount up in 10 vehicles and head out to that village. Lo and behold, they're ambushed again.
There's no women, there's no children on the streets. They were clearly laying in wait and were lured into a trap. More than 25 killed, more than 20 wounded. And this is on the back of two successive attacks on their recruits where dozens were killed and kidnapped -- Miles.
M. O'BRIEN: Well, meantime, as we said at the top there, in Baghdad a bit of a lull in the violence. What's going in the capital city?
WARE: Yeah, well, as we see from the official U.S. military spokesman, General Caldwell yesterday, saying that the last few days -- and let's bear this in mind -- the last few days, there has been a drop off in violence. Let's ask why.
The reasons are relatively evident. One, we're now at the end of the holy month of Ramadan. So effectively, we've just seen Iraq celebrate the Festival of Eid, which is like Christmas and Easter and the Fourth of July rolled up into one three-day holiday.
Now, that marked the end of the insurgents' offensive. They would have spent a lot of resources on that and would now be catching their breath, regrouping, getting ready to move on.
Plus, literally, during Eid, it's not good PR to be launching attacks, and quite literally, your soldiers want to spend time with their families. So there's very evident explanations, and even the U.S. military points to the end of Ramadan as the reason for this lull, and they're very cautious about saying let's not get too excited about this temporary drop in violence -- Miles.
M. O'BRIEN: Michael Ware in Baghdad.
Thank you -- Soledad.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: In Baghdad, it appears that that horrible wave of violence is now tapering off. Let's get right to Michael Ware. He's in the capital.
Michael, good morning to you.
MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Soledad.
Yes, what we're seeing is that in the capital of Baghdad, and that's just Baghdad alone, the military is saying in the past few days there has been a lull in the violence. However, even in announcing that, the military is still sober in its assessment of what this means. Even as the U.S. military spokesman here, General William Caldwell, put it when he was discussing this current drop in violence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAJ. GEN. WILLIAM CALDWELL, SPOKESMAN, MULTINATIONAL FORCE IRAQ: The violence is focused along Sunni/Shia ethnic fault lines predominantly outside the cleared, focus areas. With the end of Ramadan, we have seen a decrease in the levels of violence. But this has only been in the past few days and we'll have to wait to see if this decrease proves to be a trend.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARE: So while this is a sliver of good news, it must be put in the context that General Caldwell alludes to. This marks the end of two things. One, the holy month of Ramadan and the festival that follows it. So people literally have been celebrating here in Baghdad this week. PR wise, that's not been a good time for the insurgents to attack.
But, more importantly, it marks the end of their holy month of Ramadan offensive. They've launched an all out campaign for the past month. This is most likely the insurgents now drawing in breath and regrouping before they move on. So whilst it is a hint of good news, you need to understand that 45 minutes from the city, 29 police officers were slaughtered yesterday.
S. O'BRIEN: Michael, what kind of a role do you think this search -- this house-to-house search for that missing soldier is playing in the decline in violence?
WARE: Soledad, in terms of the search itself, how that impacts on the violence, I would say it's marginal if none at all. I mean, this is a very focused thing. I mean, they're hunting for this lost American soldier.
Now, they are doing searches, but it's in specific areas when they get specific intelligence or some clues that he may be in that area or his captors may be in that area. So it's very, very focused. And that is, indeed, if he has been abducted. I mean, we've seen before one U.S. soldier just walk off his base and next appear in Beirut. So though there is a lot of evidence to suggest this individual was abducted, there still remains a lot of questions about how a U.S. soldier just walks off his base.
S. O'BRIEN: Michael Ware for us this morning in Baghdad.