It wasn't the typical roadside bomb or even a sniper ambush. The attack that killed five US soldiers yesterday showed a degree of co-ordination, planning and timing rarely seen in the past.
The soldiers were killed while meeting with local Iraqi officials at a provincial headquarters to make security arrangments for an upcoming Shiite festival.
The attackers were disguised in military uniforms and used the type of vehicles ordinarily associated with diplomats to sail through security checkpoints unchallenged.
At the headquarters building, they used percussion or "stun" bombs to secure entry into the building. Following the assault the convoy drove to Babil province were police confirm they disappeared.
This incident has the hallmarks of a commando raid by highly-professional forces, not the clumsy sort of ambush associated with rag-tag militiamen. The raiders appear to have escaped to safety unscathed.