The bottom line is clear: Our vital interests in Afghanistan are limited and military victory is not the key to achieving them. On the contrary, waging a lengthy counterinsurgency war in Afghanistan may well do more to aid Taliban recruiting than to dismantle the group, help spread conflict further into Pakistan, unify radical groups that might otherwise be quarreling amongst themselves, threaten the long-term health of the U.S. economy, and prevent the U.S. government from turning its full attention to other pressing problems. -- Afghanistan Study Group

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

News Update for Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Family member grieves for the loss of her relatives prior to a funeral ceremony in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, 160 kilometers (100 miles) south of Baghdad, Iraq on Wednesday, April 30, 2008. The woman's relatives were killed during recent clashes in Baghdad's Sadr city.
(AP Photo/Alaa al-Marjani) (Note the body of the terrorist the woman is holding)





Iraqis cover dead bodies with blankets in the ruins of a destroyed house by an alleged US air strike on Baghdad's Sadr City. At least 925 people have been killed in clashes between militiamen and security forces in Baghdad's Sadr City that began on March 25.
(AFP/Ahmad al-Rubaye)




Iraqi government says the fighting in Sadr City has killed 925 and wounded 2,605. He blames the "criminal elements" for "using the population to cover themselves." Maliki vows to continue the fighting until there is no non-governmental armed force.

This was also the deadliest month for U.S. troops since last September, with 49 killed. Neither MNF nor DoD gives us timely information on wounded troops, but here's one, critically injured on Monday. The DoD updates casualties weekly, usually on Tuesday. Here's the latest. Note that the time since May 1, 2003, is officially called "post combat operations," apparently in honor of Mission Accomplished day. Anyhow, the total Killed in Action, including "post-combat" action, is now 3,307, and the total dead in theater is 4,058. That's not counting the ones they don't count, i.e. some who died considerably later of injuries sustained in theater which they choose not to attribute to those injuries; and PTSD-related suicides. Of wounded, they give only the total of those they consider Wounded in Action, which is now 16,567 Returned to Duty within 72 hours, and 13,344 not RTD. This blogger at After Downing Street has figured out that there were 88 total U.S. combat casualties last week, by keeping track of this form week to week. If he can do it, why can't Brian Williams?

Oh yes, Brian Williams. One of my must reads for today is this Glenn Greenwald take down of Mr. Williams, who apparently thinks it's his patriotic duty to present Pentagon propagandists as "independent" military analysts and thinks the critics are just French.

Speaking of "Mission Accomplished," Dana Perino says it was all a big misunderstanding. The banner only meant to refer to the specific mission of the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln. Right. And Weapons of Mass Destruction™ was only meant to refer to Saddam's cigars.

The Committee to Protect Journalists says Iraq has the most unsolved murders of journalists of any country -- 79. Most of them were deliberately killed because of their work, not caught in crossfire. I want to acknowledge that this site depends entirely on the courageous work of Iraqi journalists. We try to give them credit when we can but they usually are forced to work anonymously.

It's not just "terrorists" who attack Iraqi journalists, it's also U.S. forces (as documented on numerous occasions) and now, it seems, the Iraqi government.

Thi-Qar, Apr 30, (VOI) – The Journalists' Syndicate, Nassiriya subsidiary, announced on Wednesday the suspension of all its activities, expressing solidarity with Basra journalists, according to a release issued by the subsidiary.
"In order to stick together with Basra journalists, the syndicate suspended all its administrative, media, and journalistic activities, due to the aggressive acts that were practiced against Basra journalists by traffic police and Iraqi army discipline patrols," said the release that was received by Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq – (VOI).

The administrative body of the Journalists' Syndicate in Basra decided on Tuesday to close its doors and suspend its activities as of Wednesday until further notice, protesting Iraqi security's aggression against its president and one of its members.
"Nassiriya subsidiary issued a statement to all the colleagues, journalists in Nassiriya, to hold all journalistic activities, expressing solidarity with their colleagues in Basra," the release added.


I can't vouch for this but if it's true it's pretty impressive. From After Downing Street:

From U.S. Labor Against the War

We just learned that the Port Workers Union of Iraq will conduct a one hour work stoppage in two of the principal ports (Umm Qasr and Khor Alzubair) on May Day in solidarity with the ILWU's shutdown of West Coast Ports against the occupation. This news was conveyed to USLAW by someone in England who is in communication with the leadership of the Federation of Oil Unions in Iraq, who were informed about this action by the leadership of the Port Workers Union.

Although the information came to us indirectly, we are confident about its accuracy.


An adviser to the Iraqi Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities tells British reporters that the U.S. has damaged historic sites. This is just gross. -- C

By Farah Nayeri

April 30 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. military forces and their allies in Iraq have damaged archeological sites including Babylon by setting up bases, using heavy equipment, filling sandbags and digging trenches, said an adviser to the Iraqi Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.

At an impromptu press briefing organized by the British Museum in London today, the adviser, Bahaa Mayah, showed slides of the military presence at about a dozen sites. While the Babylon site has now been vacated by U.S. and Polish forces, he said, ``we cannot reverse'' the damage done.

``We need to stop this from happening again by any force, either Iraqi forces, or American forces, or British forces, or any forces in Iraq,'' he said. ``This has got to stop.''

Mayah said that until three or four months ago, the U.S. military ``didn't listen to us, didn't take any action'' when told that certain bases were in archeologically sensitive areas. Now, the U.S. military seeks Iraqi ministry approval before basing camps anywhere. ``There is better cooperation nowadays compared to what we witnessed before,'' he said.


But it's not just the military - according to this witness our old friends at KBR were actually stealing the stuff:

By DAVID IVANOVICH Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle Washington Bureau

KBR employees working in Iraq stole weapons, artwork and even gold to make spurs for cowboy boots, two former company workers told Senate Democrats on Monday.

Appearing before a Democrats-only panel looking into allegations of contracting abuses in Iraq, the witnesses accused their former co-workers of widespread improper activity.

KBR spokeswoman Heather Browne said the company would not comment at length because the claims are part of ongoing lawsuits. "The witnesses who testified today raised claims that KBR has previously addressed. The government has reviewed the claims and refused to join lawsuits asserting them," Browne said.

Linda Warren, a 50-year-old Abilene woman who worked as a laundry foreman and recreation director for the Houston-based contracting giant in Iraq, told the Senate Democratic Policy Committee Monday that some of her American colleagues doing construction work in Iraqi palaces and municipal buildings took woodcarvings, tapestries and crystal "and even melted down gold to make spurs for cowboy boots."




My second must read is this Tom Englehardt piece on the demigod Gen. Petraeus, who always seems to get his promotion just as his previous project is heading for the dumper, for which his successor gets the blame. Think training the Iraqi army, and Mosul, now The Surge™.


Quote of the Day

I'm going to turn this one over to Jonathan Schwartz, it's from back in 2002:

There is not sufficient space…for me to refute some of the arguments made in Slate over the past week against intervention, arguments made, I have noticed, by people with limited experience in the Middle East (Their lack of experience causes them to reach the naive conclusion that an invasion of Iraq will cause America to be loathed in the Middle East, rather than respected)…

The administration is planning today to launch what many people would undoubtedly call a short-sighted and inexcusable act of aggression. In five years, however, I believe that the coming invasion of Iraq will be remembered as an act of profound morality.


-- Jeffrey Goldberg, recently hired by The Atlantic magazine

War News for Wednesday, April 30, 2008

MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of a Multi-National Division - Baghdad soldier in a roadside bombing in a northwestern neighborhood of Baghdad on Tuesday, April 29th. No other details were released.

MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of a Multi-National Division - Baghdad soldier by small-arms fire in a northwestern neighborhood of Baghdad on Tuesday, April 29th. No other details were released.

MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of a Multi-National Division - Baghdad soldier in a roadside bombing in a northern neighborhood of Baghdad on Wednesday, April 30th. No other details were released.

NATO is reporting the death of an ISAF soldier in an explosion in Logar Province, Afghanistan on Wednesday, April 30th. Four other soldiers were wounded in the attack. No other details were released. Czech Happenings - News is reporting these to be Chech soldiers.

MNF-Iraq is reporting the deaths of two Multi-National Division - Baghdad soldier in a roadside bombing in a southern neighborhood of Baghdad on Tuesday, April 29th. No other details were released.


Security incidents:

Baghdad:
#1: A blinding dust storm hit Baghdad for the second consecutive day on Wednesday, forcing pedestrians to stay indoors and bringing road and air traffic to a halt, officials said. Fine dust from the storm, which is expected to continue for several days, has seeped into homes, depositing a thin film of yellow powder. Flights into and out of Baghdad have been cancelled, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded.

#2: A Sadrist leader said on Wednesday that at least 500 people have been killed, most of them women and children, and 2,000 wounded in the ongoing intense clashes between militants and Iraqi forces in Baghdad's Sadr City since March 25. Fatah al-Sheikh, a Sadrist leader, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa that the situation in Sadr City is 'dramatic.'

#3: US air raids on the city continued between late Tuesday and the early hours Wednesday amid intense clashes between militants and Iraqi forces, al-Sheikh said. The Sadrist leader stressed that the militants engaged in clashes with the Iraqi troops do not belong to the Mahdi Army, a militia loyal to the radical Shiite cleric Moqada al-Sadr. He added that the Sadrist movement plans to issue a statement on Sunday to explain the violent acts taking place in the city.

#4: Under the cover of the dust, dozens of rockets and mortar rounds have been fired since Tuesday at the Green Zone, the seat of Iraqi government and the US embassy.

#5: An official at the local hospital, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to release the information, said two people were killed and 16 wounded overnight in Sadr City. He said this brought the death toll in the district since Tuesday to 31, with 107 wounded.

The death toll from the clashes in Sadr City in the past 24 hours reached 35 dead and 129 wounded, a medical source said on Wednesday.

#6: The Sadr City violence continued overnight with the destruction of a school in the district. AP Television News footage showed that parts of the two-floor Baghdad Girls' School had pancaked as the result of an explosion. Desks were hanging down from the slanting classrooms where the outer walls were blown out by the blast.

The U.S. military had no comment about the school but said an Abrams tank fired at gunmen shooting at U.S. troops in Sadr City, killing all three. In another part of Sadr City, an unmanned drone fired a missile at a group of men planting a roadside bomb and killed one, the military said.

#7: The U.S. military withdrew from a building of the education department in Sadr City in eastern Baghdad, which they used it as a barrack last month, an official source in the education department said on Wednesday. “The U.S. forces, stationed in the building when they entered Sadr City later last month, withdrew from the building, near one of Sadr City’s inlet,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq- Voices of Iraq. No word was available from the U.S. army on the incident.

#8: One civilian was killed and six others were injured when U.S. troops opened fire after being hit by a roadside bomb near their patrol in Baghdad's southeastern neighborhood of Fadhiliyah, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. The source could not tell whether there were casualties among the U.S. soldiers as the troops immediately cordoned off the scene. The U.S. military did not confirm both incidents yet.

#9: Another civilian was killed and four others were wounded when two mortar rounds struck a residential area in the Rahmaniyah neighborhood in central the capital, the source said.

#10: In a separate incident, clashes broke out between U.S. troops and Mahdi Army militiamen in the al-Baladiyat neighborhood in eastern Baghdad resulted in the wounding of three people, the source said.

#11: Separately, several mortar rounds struck the Shiite neighborhoods of Bayaa and al-Amil in southern Baghdad, injuring six civilians, he said.

2 mortar rounds fell in Bayaa neighbourhood, southwest Baghdad at 12.15 pm injuring 2 civilians.

2 mortar rounds fell in al-Amil neighbourhood, southwest Baghdad at noon Wednesday, injuring 6 civilians.

#12: In addition, four mortar rounds landed on the heavily fortified Green Zone in central Baghdad around midday, the source said.

#13: A roadside bomb exploded in Ur neighbourhood, northern Baghdad at 7 am Wednesday. No casualties were reported.

#14 The brother-in-law of an Iraqi journalist who works with the Los Angeles Times also was reported killed. The victim recently had moved his immediate family out of the neighborhood because of the fighting. The journalist, reached by phone Tuesday night, said he was at the funeral and could not speak.

#15: Militants killed the nephew of the Interior Ministry spokesman and hung his body from an electric pole in Baghdad, the prime minister said Wednesday. The attack Tuesday was in apparent retaliation for the spokesman's role in a government crackdown against Shiite militias. Maj. Gen. Abdul-Karim Khalaf's nephew was killed in Sadr City district — the stronghold of anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army — Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said.

#16: 4 unidentified bodies were found in Baghdad by Iraqi Police today. 1 in Palestine Street; 1 in Khulani Square; 1 in Qahira and 1 in Ataifiyah.


Diyala Prv:
Bahraz:
#1: Six women were wounded on Wednesday in a bomb explosion in south of the city of Baaquba, an official security source said. “An improvised explosive device was detonated near a rural road in al-Nahr al-Kabeir village in Bahraz district, south of Baaquba, wounding six passing women, four of them are in serious condition” the source, who asked for anonymity, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq.

A roadside bomb targeted a civilian pick up truck carrying women, injuring all six, three of whom are critical, at 7.50 am Wednesday. The truck was on its way from al-Baijat village, 15 km to the south of Buhruz, heading towards Baquba.


Persian gulf:
#1: Second US aircraft carrier deployed to Gulf. US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said Tuesday the deployment of a second aircraft carrier to the Gulf should be seen as a "reminder" of US military power in the region. "I don't think we'll have two carriers for a protracted period of time. So I don't see it as an escalation. I think it could be seen, though, as a reminder," Gates told reporters here during a visit with Mexican officials.


Kut:
#1: Gunmen stormed a house and killed one woman in the west of the city of Kut, 170 km (105 miles) southeast of Baghdad, police said.


Tikrit:
#1: Meanwhile, two members of the Awakening Councils were killed and another one was wounded when a road bomb went off in Abasy area in the Northern city of Tikrit, Iraqi police sources told dpa.

#2: 2 unidentified bodies were found in west Tikrit by the local police Tuesday evening.


Hawija:
#1: Two Awakening Council (Sahwa) fighters were killed on Wednesday and two more were wounded in a bomb blast near their vehicle patrol in al-Huwaiyja district, southwest of Kirkuk, a police source said. “An improvised explosive device went off targeting an Awakening Council fighters’ vehicle patrol in al-Ahnaf village in al-Abasi region in al-Huwaiyja district, southwest of Kirkuk, killing two fighters and injuring two others,” the source, who preferred anonymity, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq.


Mosul:
#1: One body was found in eastern Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, on Tuesday, police said.



Afghanistan:
#1: Afghan security forces raided a Kabul hideout of militants with suspected links to the weekend attack on President Hamid Karzai, sparking a clash Wednesday that killed seven people, officials said. Two militants, a woman and a child were among those killed during the clash when the two sides traded rocket-propelled grenade and automatic gunfire for several hours, intelligence chief Amrullah Saleh told a news conference. Three intelligence agents also died, he said.

#2: The United States is considering pulling a battalion of Apache attack helicopters out of the Korean Peninsula to deploy it to Afghanistan on an anti-terror mission, a senior diplomat said Wednesday.

#3: Another Australian soldier has been shot and wounded in a firefight with Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan. Defence said the unnamed soldier was wounded during a clearance operation in the restive Oruzgan Province in south-central Afghanistan. He was evacuated by helicopter to a hospital for treatment for a gunshot wound to his arm. Defence said the wound was not life-threatening and the soldier's condition was stable.

#4: Militants threw a hand grenade and opened fire at a police van in a northwestern Pakistan city, killing three policemen and injuring two others, police said. The policemen were on patrol when they were hit by a grenade in the garrison city of Kohat, where Pakistan's army has a base that runs the anti-militant campaign in the nearby tribal districts of North and South Waziristan.
"The attackers then opened fire and policemen did not have a chance to retaliate," police chief of North West Frontier province, Malik Navid, told AFP.


Casualty Reports:

Marine Lance Cpl. Jeremy Stengel 22-year-old Marine suffered massive internal injuries and wounds to both legs when he was hit by a roadside bomb in Iraq. Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington has been his home ever since.

Pvt. Nathon Bagwell, 24, a 2003 graduate from East Hall High School, was shot in the left side of his abdomen by a sniper in Sauder City on Sunday, said his mother, Carolyn Bagwell. An official from Nathon Bagwell's base in Colorado Springs, Colo. called Carolyn Bagwell Monday evening and told her oldest son had been shot in the line of duty. His bowels have been damaged and one of his vertebrae is shattered. Doctors are still not sure whether or not the wound resulted in any paralysis. Nathon Bagwell's condition is critical but stable. He is no longer relying on a ventilator, and Carolyn Bagwell was able to speak to him on the phone today. Nathon Bagwell was able to tell his mother that he was in a lot of pain, but assured her that he was "okay." Since he arrived in Germany, Nathon Bagwell has undergone a surgery on his kidneys and a CT scan revealed that one of his vertebrae are shattered. He will undergo another surgery tonight, and doctors will replace the vertebrae with a steel rod.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

War News for Tuesday, April 29, 2008

MNF-Iraq is reporting the deaths of three Multi-National Division - Baghdad soldier in an indirect-fire attack in an eastern neighborhood of Baghdad on Monday, April 28th. No other details were released.

MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of a Multi-National Division - Baghdad soldier in an indirect-fire attack in a western neighborhood of Baghdad on Monday, April 28th. No other details were released.

NATO is reporting the death of an ISAF soldier while on a patrol in the Tag Ab Valley, Kapisa province, Afghanistan on Tuesday, April 29th. One other soldier was wounded. No additional details were released but we assume this to be an American soldier.


Security incidents:

Baghdad:
#1: Eight people were killed and 67 were wounded Tuesday in Baghdad's embattled eastern Sadr City district. Overnight clashes resulted in 42 injuries, officials at the Imam Ali and al-Sadr general hospitals said. Eight more were killed and 25 wounded in continuing firefights on Tuesday morning, said the officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Twenty-four militants were killed and four US soldiers wounded in fierce clashes between US soldiers and fighters in the Sadr City district of Baghdad on Tuesday, the American military said. The fighting erupted at around 9:30 am (0630 GMT) when a US patrol was targeted with small arms fire in which a soldier was wounded, Lieutenant Colonel Steven Stover told AFP.
As the soldier was being evacuated a US vehicle was struck by two roadside bombs, small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades, he said. The "complex" attack damaged the vehicle and wounded three other soldiers, he said, adding that another US vehicle was later damaged by a third road bomb. Stover said US soldiers defended themselves and "killed 24 enemy forces in a protracted gunbattle," adding that the firefight was still continuing.

Shiite militants ambushed a U.S. patrol in Baghdad's embattled Sadr City district on Tuesday and more than two dozen people were killed in the fighting, a U.S. military spokesman and Iraqi officials said. Six American soldiers were wounded. The clashes broke out at 9:30 a.m. after U.S. troops were attacked with rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns, spokesman Lt. Col. Steve Stover said. As the troops were leaving the area, a vehicle was hit with two roadside bombs, Stover said.

#2: Also in Baghdad, a senior government official was killed in a roadside bombing in the north of the city. Dhia Jodi Jaber, director general at the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, was hit by a roadside bomb as he left his home on Tuesday morning, the ministry's spokesman Abdullah al-Lami said.

A roadside bomb blew up outside the house of Dhiyaa al-Judi, a civil servant in the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, killing him and wounding two of his guards in the Utaifiya district of eastern Baghdad, police said.

#3: The U.S. military said three soldiers were killed in eastern Baghdad by indirect fire, a reference to mortars or rockets. The statement did not give an exact location for the attack, but the Shiite stronghold of Sadr City has been the scene of intense fighting recently with Shiite militiamen.

#4: A fourth U.S. soldier was killed by a shell in western Baghdad, the military said.

#5: AUSTRALIAN soldiers in Iraq have come under heavy rocket fire in Baghdad's green zone after sandstorms sent blankets of dust across the city and provided cover for insurgents.

#6: Around 1:00 p.m. two mortar shells hit al Jaish club building (the Army Club) in Karrada neighborhood in downtown Baghdad. No casualties reported.

#7: Another mortar shell slammed into the area near the neurosurgery hospital in Bab al Sharj neighborhood in downtown Baghdad at the same time. No casualties reported.

#8: Two civilians were injured when a mortar shell hit al Muheet Street in Kadhemiyah neighborhood north Baghdad around 2,45 p.m.

#9: Three civilians were injured when a mortar shell slammed into a house in Karrad Maryam neighborhood in downtown Baghdad around 3:00 p.m.

#10: Two civilians were killed and five others were wounded when a Katyosha rocket hit New Baghdad neighborhood in east Baghdad around 3:15 p.m.

#11: Several people were believed killed on Tuesday in two US air strikes in the Baghdad bastion of Shiite radical leader Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia, an AFP photographer and witnesses said. "Four houses have been heavily damaged," a resident of the Sadr City district said on condition of anonymity. Another witness said US forces launched the first air strike at around 1:30 pm (1030 GMT) in the southern section of Sadr City. "As a group of people came to rescue those buried in the collapsed houses, another air strike hit them," the witness said.


Diyala Prv:
Muqdadiya:
#1: Elsewhere, a female suicide bomber blew herself up at a bus stop near Muqdadiyah, about 90 kilometers (60 miles) north of Baghdad, killing one and wounding five people, police said.

Abu Saida:
#1: Also on Tuesday, a female suicide bomber blew herself up among a group of local Awakening Council fighters who were manning a checkpoint in the Abu Saida town in Diyala province, northeast of Baghdad, killing two of them and wounding 10 others.

Khanaqin:
#1: Unidentified gunmen opened fire at three civilians in Jalawlaa, Khanaqin district, (185 km) northeast of Baghdad, killing them instantly," a security source, who did not want his name mentioned, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq.

Balad Ruz:
#1: The same source said an improvised explosive device (IED) went off near an Iraqi army patrol in Baladruz district, (45 km) southeast of Baaquba, wounding three personnel.

Baquba:
#1: The supporting office of Qazanya district tribes east of Baquba found six unidentified bodies in a deserted house in one of the villages of Qazanya.


Kirkuk:
#1: Two bodies were found with gunshot wounds just outside Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

#2: A roadside bomb struck an Iraqi Army patrol, wounding seven people including three soldiers in southern Kirkuk, police said.

#3: A roadside bomb wounded two policemen when it targeted their patrol in central Kirkuk on Monday, police said.


Mosul:
#1: Iraqi soldiers at a military base in Mosul, the capital of the northern province of Nineveh, foiled a suicide tanker bomb attack on their base, said the provincial police. The incident occurred at about 7 a.m. (0400 GMT) when a suicide bomber tried to drive his booby-trapped tanker into the army base in the al-Tanak area in western Mosul, Brigadier Khalid Abdul-Sattar, spokesman of the provincial security operations office told Xinhua. The soldiers at the entrance of the base ordered the tanker driver to stop before they opened fire with rocket propelled grenades and machinguns, causing a powerful explosion in the tanker which was heard on all over the city of Mosul, Sattar said. Only one soldier was injured by the blast because the soldiers blew up the tanker before reaching the fortified entrance of the base, added the spokesman.

#2: An Iraqi soldier was killed and five others were injured when a suicide car bomb attacked their check point in al Yarmouk neighborhood in west Mosul on Tuesday afternoon.



Afghanistan:
#1: A suspected suicide bomber killed 15 Afghans and wounded 14 more in eastern Afghanistan, close to the border with Pakistan on Tuesday, a NATO spokesman said. Initial reports said 25 Afghans were wounded in the blast near the district centre of Khogiani, a town south of the city of Jalalabad, but the number of wounded was later revised to 14, said Major Martin O'Donnell, a spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

A suicide bomb tore through a team preparing to eradicate opium poppy fields in eastern Afghanistan on Tuesday, killing 18 people, most of them policemen, the government said. The hardline Taliban movement said one of its men carried out the attack in the small town of Khogyani in the eastern province of Nangarhar, near the insurgency-hit border with Pakistan. The bomb struck as a counternarcotics team, which included the district governor, was preparing to travel to opium fields on a mission to rip up illegal poppy crops, the interior ministry said in a statement. "Eleven police and seven (civilians) lost their lives and 31 others were wounded," it said. The district chief was among the wounded, it said.

#2: U.S. Marines began moving in to capture a town from Taliban militants in the south, their first large operation in Afghanistan since arriving to reinforce NATO troops last month. The U.S. Marines' drive into the town of Garmsir in Helmand, the world' biggest opium producing region and a hotbed of insurgent activity, is the first significant fruit of that move.

Several militants were killed and 14 were arrested in western Afghanistan, while US marines and British forces launched a new major operation against a Taliban stronghold in a southern town, officials said on Tuesday. Afghan and US-led coalition forces killed "several militants" and detained 14 others during a search operation in Khash Rod district of western Nimroz province on Monday, US military said in a statement. The combined forces came under fire by rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns during the operation targeting a militant engaged in weapon movement to militants in the area, the statement said. The joint forces responded to the militants' attack with small-arms fire and air strikes, killing several of the rebels.

#3: (?) The Taliban shelled the Polish troops accused of unlawful civilian killings in Nangar Khel, Afghanistan, writes Gazeta Wyborcza daily.

#4: Sabri district chief escaped unharmed after a roadside bomb explosion blew up his vehicle in the restive southeastern Khost province early on Monday morning. Sabri district chief Gul Qasam Jihadyar told Pajhwok Afghan News the roadside bomb explosion took place on his way to the office in the district this morning. He said: "The explosion blew up a taxi after our vehicle passed." Blaming insurgents for the roadside bomb explosion he said the civilian taxi was damaged however no casualties caused to the onboard people. Taliban fighters have issued no comment on the incident.


Casualty Reports:

Spc. Ryan Bair of the Oklahoma Army National Guard. Just last month, Bair was manning the gun turret of his Humvee during an escort mission in Iraq when a bomb went off nearby. As he turned his head in the direction of the blast -- at that very precise second -- a sniper's bullet glanced off the left side of his helmet, just above the ear. Had he not turned his head in that flash of time, he would have been killed. Even then, the impact of the bullet knocked him down with a concussion-type injury. Many of his fellow troops in the Humvee thought he was dead. The 26-year-old Bair, attached to Company C, 1st Battalion, 279th Infantry Regiment of the 45th Infantry Brigade, reflected on that pivotal day in March.

Sgt. Marcus Kuboy a Twin Cities soldier wounded in a bomb attack a year ago while serving in the Minnesota National Guard. The Robbinsdale native, served three years of active duty for the Minnesota Guard until he suffered serious injuries in March 2007. He was patrolling the outskirts of Fallujah with his unit when his vehicle ran over an IED bomb. The explosion severely injured Duboy's legs and broke his back, left arm and jaw. In his initial nine months of recovery, Kuboy endured eight surgeries and spent four months at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington. Kuboy, 30, a medic, is now getting more treatment in the Twin Cities.

Monday, April 28, 2008

News Update for Monday, April 28, 2008

Bodies of civilians killed during clashes in Sadr City lie in coffins at Imam Ali shrine for a funeral in Najaf, 99 miles south of Baghdad April 28, 2008. (Ali Abu Shish/Reuters) Note the size of the bodies. -- C














Security Incidents Update

Three Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers were killed as the result of an indirect-fire attack in eastern Baghdad at approximately 1:05 p.m. April 28. Another soldier was killed by indirect fire in western Baghdad, the military said separately.

Shelling of the Green Zone continues, at least three more rocket or mortar strikes. No reported casualties at this time.

The U.S. has also reported killing additional Iraqis in the ongoing clashes in Sadr City since Whisker's post this morning. The total of Iraqi dead in the past 24 hours is now given as 45. The ongoing violence occurs in the context of a sandstorm which has grounded U.S. attack helicopters.

Note: there have been additional incidents reported in various places around the country since Whisker's post this morning. I'll let him compile them tomorrow.

Other News

The Pentagon says it has "suspended" a program to falsely present retired military personnel on U.S. television as "independent" analysts, which was reported in the New York Times last week. However, they apparently intend to bring it back once the dust has settled.

It is revealed that a Tufts University Institute and a Finnish non-governmental organization have been sponsoring meetings among Iraqi factional leaders outside of the country, beginning in September 2007. The participants now plan to continue to meet in Baghdad. However, the Sadrists are not participating and it is not clear what support there may be within the rival communities for this process.

AP reports that the U.S. is having difficulty handing over reconstruction projects to Iraqi authorities. Excerpt:

The U.S. is struggling to hand Iraq control of many of its reconstruction projects after spending tens of billions of dollars on them since the 2003 invasion, a report said Monday.

"The U.S. program continues to have serious weaknesses that ultimately could place much of the U.S. reconstruction investment at risk," warned the report by Stuart W. Bowen Jr., special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction.

Since 2003, Congress has approved $46 billion to rebuild Iraq's war-torn infrastructure, including oil production plants and pipelines. The expectation after the U.S. invasion had been that it would take up to 18 months for Iraq to assume responsibility for reconstruction efforts, using its oil revenues.

In recent months, lawmakers have suggested that Baghdad pay more of the tab for the war in light of Iraq's burgeoning oil revenues, which are expected to hit $70 billion this year — twice what was initially expected because of soaring fuel prices. Democrats and even some Republicans say Iraq will be more likely to accept responsibility for the projects if they are financially invested.

Administration officials, reluctant to restrict U.S. aid and slow progress, have countered that Baghdad is already taking control. Earlier this month, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker declared in congressional testimony that "the era of U.S. major infrastructure projects is over." Indeed, in recent months, the U.S. has refocused its spending on smaller local projects and building the capacity of the Iraqi security forces, rather than the major bricks-and-mortar efforts that dominated the early part of the war.

But according to the inspector general, the U.S. and Iraq have yet to agree on the terms of handing over many of these assets. And with no one senior-level Iraqi official in charge of overseeing the transfers, U.S. officials are resorting to negotiations at the local level and, in some cases, handing over projects without explicit consent.


Richard Butler doesn't know who kidnapped him or why. However, he says he'd prefer to be kidnapped by unknown militants in Iraq than held prisoner by the Americans. "I was pleased I wasn't being mortarboarded in Guantanamo or being held for six and a half years like an Al-Jazeera cameraman, for instance," he said. And I guess I'll call that the Quote of the Day.

War News for Monday, April 28, 2008

The Australian DoD is reporting the death of an Australian ISAF soldier from small arms fire and RPG's in Oruzgan Province, approximately 25km south-east of Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan on Sunday, April 27th. Four other soldiers were seriously wounded in the attack. Here's the NATO statement.


Security incidents:

Baghdad:
#1: Under the cover of a thick sandstorm Sunday, suspected Shiite militiamen unleashed a barrage of rocket or mortar fire at Baghdad's fortified Green Zone and attacked U.S. and Iraqi soldiers. There were no reports of casualties inside the enclave, which houses the U.S. Embassy and Iraqi government offices.

Militiamen take advantage of the lack of U.S. air cover in poor weather to set up and fire their projectiles. As the dust storm cleared this morning, another volley of explosions sent Green Zone residents running for cover.

#2: 22 fighters killed with tank and gun fire, when a large group swarmed a checkpoint manned by U.S. and Iraqi soldiers Sunday, the military said in a statement.

#3: At least one other checkpoint, a combat outpost and several patrols were also attacked with small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades, the military said.

#4: Hospital officials in Sadr City, the vast Shiite district that has been the focus of recent fighting, said they had received 24 dead and more than 100 wounded since 8 a.m. Sunday. The victims included women and children, they said. The hospitals regard all patients as civilians unless they arrive in military uniform, making it impossible to determine how many of the victims may have been fighters.

#5: At least two other Iraqis were killed Sunday and 25 wounded by shells that apparently missed the Green Zone and landed in surrounding neighborhoods, police said. There were no reports of casualties inside the enclave, which houses the U.S. Embassy and Iraqi government offices.

#6: One Iraqi soldier was killed and nine people wounded including four soldiers on Sunday, when a parked car bomb struck the Jamiaa District in western Baghdad, police said.

#7: A woman and a child were killed and four civilians others wounded when a number of mortar shells landed on the central Baghdad's heavily-fortified green zone on Monday, the Iraqi police said. "A number of mortars landed near the al-Takhtit gate that leads to the green zone, killing one woman and a child and wounding four civilians others," a security source, who asked not be named, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq.

#8: 4 mortar shells hit the Green Zone (IZ) in central Baghdad. No casualties reported.

#9: Around midnight, 3 mortars hit the intelligence headquarters in Baladiyat neighborhood (east Baghdad). No casualties reported.

#10: Around 3 am, three mortar shells hit Mamil neighborhood. Five people were injured in that incident.

#11: Around 8 am, a mortar hit the Green Zone (IZ) in central Baghdad. No casualties reported.

#12: Around 10 am, a mortar hit the area beyond the Sa'aa restaurant at Mansour neighborhood (west Baghdad). Two civilians were injured in that incident.

#13: Around 1 pm, 3 mortar shells hit Al-Jazaer police station in Sadr city. Three policemen were injured with some damage to the building.

#14: Around 1:30pm, An American warplane targeted a Hino truck which was carrying Katyusha missiles at Al-Qanat street (east Baghdad). Two people were injured in that incident.

#15: Around 2 pm, a motor bicycle bomb targeted Sahwa members (also known as Sons of Iraq). One member was killed and three others were injured.

#16: Around 2 :15 pm, a roadside bomb targeted a civilian car (Toyota Pick up ) which was carrying technicians employees of the power supply service on the high way of Nahdha neighborhood (north Baghdad).Three of the employees were injured in that incident.

#17: Around 2:30 pm, a roadside bomb targeted the Sahwa members check point at Adhamiyah neighborhood (north Baghdad) near Qasim Abu Al-Ghas restaurant .Three members were injured in that incident.

#18: Around 4:30 pm, a Katyusha missile hit Al-Sadeer hotel in Karrada neighborhood (central Baghdad).No casualties or damage recorded as it was in the garden of this hotel.

#19: Around 5 pm, a mortar shell hit an area behind the Rashid hotel in the green zone (IZ) which is a residential compound .Five people were injured in that incident including a child.

#20: Around 5 :30 pm, a roadside bomb targeted an American patrol in Amil neighborhood (west Baghdad) .No casualties reported on the American side .While we have four civilians injured in that incident including a child and woman.

#21: Police found 6 dead bodies in Baghdad today: 4 were found in Karkh bank of Baghdad ; 1 in Kadhimiyah, 1 in Hurriyah, 1 in Dora and 1 in Yarmouk. While 2 were found in east Baghdad (Risafa bank); 1 in Ur and 1 in Jisr Diyala.


Diyala Prv:
#1: Around 4:30 pm, gunmen of the Qaeda attacked Al-Bayjat village (south of Baquba ). The residents of the village who join the Sahwas (Sons of Iraq) councils resisted them and killed five gunmen including a leader.


Basra:
#1: Iraqi police say gunmen have assassinated a local commander of anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in the southern city of Basra. A police official says Ali Ghalib, a commander of al-Sadr's Mahdi Army in the Hakimiya neighborhood in central Basra, was gunned down by gunmen on a motorcycle as he was driving on Monday.

Before noon, gunmen killed a Sadrist leader at Timimiyah neighborhood downtown Basra. Also his wife was injured as she was with him walking home.


Tikrit:
#1: Two police officers were killed and their driver seriously wounded when their patrol vehicle came under armed attack in central Tikrit, a police source in Salah al-Din province said on Monday. "Gunmen attacked an Iraqi police patrol vehicle parked in al-Asri neighborhood, central Tikrit, killing two police officers in the ranks of major and lieutenant and severely wounding their driver," the source, who refused to be named, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq.


Tuz Khurmato:
#1: Sunday night, gunmen opened fire on an Iraqi army soldier at Tuz Khurmatu (south of Kirkuk).The soldier was killed at once and the gunmen ran away.


Mosul:
#1: An Iraqi soldier was killed in clashes with an armed group in western Mosul on Monday, an official Iraqi army source said. "The Iraqi soldier was killed in clashes between security forces and unidentified gunmen in Tal al-Rumman neighborhood, western Mosul," the source, who did not want his name mentioned, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq.



Afghanistan:
#1: US and Afghan troops fought off coordinated insurgent attacks in eastern Afghanistan, leaving a dozen militants dead and a dozen more wounded, the US military said Monday. As many as 40 insurgents attacked five military outposts Sunday in the Korangal Valley of volatile eastern Kunar province, using small arms fire, rockets and mortars, the military said in a statement. The joint force returned fire and called in airstrikes that left 12 militants dead and 12 others wounded, the coalition said. No US or Afghan soldiers were hurt.

#2: In another incident, a suicide bomber attacked a column of German vehicles in Afghanistan Monday morning, but no injuries to allied forces or civilians were reported, a German Defence Ministry spokesman said in Berlin. No damage was done to the 'mixed reconnaissance unit' vehicles, which were driving from Kunduz to Mazar-e Sharif, he said.

#3: One NATO soldier were killed and four NATO soldiers were wounded in eastern and southern regions of Afghanistan, officials said on Monday. The NATO soldiers came across the militants while they were patrolling in the region on Sunday, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said in a statement. The injured ISAF soldiers were transported to a military hospital to receive treatment, said the statement, but it did not identify their nationalities or say where in southern Afghanistan the incident took place.

A Sydney (Australia) family is in mourning, devastated by the death of a young father-of-two, killed in action in Afghanistan. 27 year old Lance Corporal Jason Marks died after his commando unit was attacked by the Taliban, while four of his comrades were seriously wounded.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

News of the Day for Sunday, April 27, 2008

Visitors pay their respects to U.S. Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Matt Maupin on Saturday afternoon, April 26, 2008 at the Union Township Civic Center in Union Township, Ohio. A 20-hour vigil is to take place before a procession and burial on Sunday. Maupin was part of the U.S. Army's 724th Transportation Company and was captured by Iraqi insurgents in Baghdad on April 9, 2004.
(AP Photo/The Enquirer, Carrie Cochran)







An injured Iraqi man is taken to hospital in the Shiite enclave of Sadr City, Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, April 26, 2008. Since Friday morning the two main hospitals in Sadr City have received the bodies of 8 people who were killed in sporadic clashes and 29 wounded people, according to health officials.
(AP Photo/Karim Kadim)




















Reported Security Incidents

Baghdad

Clashes continue between U.S. and Iraqi forces and JAM (Sadrist) fighters in "eastern Baghdad" (presumably Sadr City). Reuters reports 10 people killed, including a woman and 2 children, 42 injured. AP gives a lower casualty total but does say that 4 of the injured are children. Al Jazeera gives the death toll as 8, wounded as 44. AFP appears to resolve the conflicting death tolls, reporting that 8 people were killed during the overnight, including the civilians, while the U.S. military reported 2 more militants killed in the morning.

Suicide bomber attacks checkpoint in Zayouna neighborhood, killing 2 Iraqi soldiers and injuring 5.

One killed, 4 injured in clashes between U.S. forces and fighters believed to belong to JAM in western Baghdad suburb of al-Bayyaa.

Car bomb attack on police patrol near al-Shaab kills 1 police officer, wounds 3.

VoI also reports IED attack on an army patrol in Mansour, killing 1 soldier and injuring 6. This is probably the same incident which Reuters describes somewhat differently,as two bombs exploding within a few minutes of each other, killing 1 soldier and injuring 4 soldiers and 2 civilians.

Tuz Khurmato

Drive by shooting kills 1 Iraqi soldier.

Mosul

One civilian killed, 1 injured, apparently in crossfire during clashes between security forces and unidentified gunmen.

VoI also reports an unexplained attack that killed a man in the Souk al-Maash district.

Reuters reports a roadside bomb attack at an unspecified location in Nineveh Province, killing 2 police officers and injuring 3 officers and 2 civilians.

VoI reports additional incidents in Mosul:

  1. "Four civilians were wounded in two separate improvised explosive device (IED) blasts in Mosul, while Iraqi police defused two others in the eastern part of the city," Brig. Khaled Abdul-Sattar, the official spokesman for the Ninewa operations command, told Aswat al-Iraq.
  2. In other statements, Abdul-Sattar said that two civilians were wounded when unidentified gunmen attacked a checkpoint in southeastern Mosul.
  3. An official source in the Iraqi army said that two civilians were killed and another wounded in two separate attacks in Mosul. (Not clear whether either or both of these correspond to the attacks reported separately.)
  4. Another security source in Mosul said that four policemen were killed and three others injured when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive vehicle near an Iraqi police patrol in the eastern part of the city.


Diwaniya

Gunmen kill a policeman outside his house.

Near Baiji

Body of a policeman is found.

Northern Kurdistan, near the Turkish border

Turkish artillery strikes villages, no reports of casualties.

In Turkey, near the Kurdistan border

Thousands of Turkish soldiers fought Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) separatists on Sunday in two large operations, military sources said. Two Turkish soldiers were killed in the operation in Bingol, while in Sirnak and Hakkari provinces, on the Kurdistan border, 15,000 troops are said to be involved in operations. (No information on PKK casualties.)

Other News of the Day

President Talibani receives a delegation of Iraqi Christian leaders, calls for combating oppression of Christians but appears to make no specific commitments. This loses something in the translation, but I expect the Arabic is inoffensive -- C Excerpt:

Baghdad, Apr 26, (VOI) – President of the Republic Jalal Talabani said on Saturday that Iraqi Christians are good-breed Iraqis, and among the oldest residents of Iraq for thousands of years, and they deserve all kinds of support and assistance from all the political leaders, government, and state institutions.

A release issued by the President's office and received by Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq – (VOI) said that Talabani received on Saturday at his office in Baghdad a delegation that represents heads of Christian sects and Churches in Iraq, to discuss issues related to Christian citizens and their religious institutions.

"Talabani emphasized that he will do his best to lift the unjust and oppression imposed on Christians, and will work on solving their problems and fulfilling their legal demands," the release said.


Sadrist MP Al Yasin says talks are underway to resolve the conflict in Sadr City. However, I must note that the positions of al-Sadr and al-Maliki are far apart. Al Sadr is demanding that the blockade and military operations stop before further talks are possible; the government is essentially demanding surrender. -- C Excerpt:

Political moves are under way to defuse the crisis between Iraq's government and radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and to lift the blockade of Baghdad's Sadr City, a Shiite lawmaker said Sunday.

Iraqi member of parliament, Al Yasin, who is close to al-Sadr, told the local al-Sabah newspaper that moves were under way to contain the ongoing crisis peacefully. A meeting slated for this week between members of the al-Sadr Bloc in parliament and the cabinet's executive council would discuss proposals to end the crisis, Yasin said.

'Three main proposals will be looked at: lifting the siege on Sadr City, halting military operations and starting talks and a peaceful dialogue to end the crisis,' the lawmaker said.

When ending the blockade and halting military operations came into effect, talks on a bigger scale would immediately take place due to the dire situation in the district and the difficult humanitarian conditions there, Yasin said.

The Iraqi government has set conditions for ending its offensive mounted in the Shiite-dominated district with US military support. Baghdad wants all armed groups of al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia to turn in their weapons, hand over all people wanted by the government and present a list of people suspected of having been involved in recent violence.


Nouri al Maliki and Tariq al-Hashemi meet to continue discussions to have the Sunni Accord Front rejoin the government. I'm not sure that the spin that's usually put on this is convincing. Hashemi said on Saturday that a quick agreement was necessary to save Iraq; this is generally interpreted as signaling willingness to end the boycott, but it could also be seen as brinksmanship. It is not in fact clear to me at this point that an agreement is imminent. We'll see. -- C Excerpt:

BAGHDAD - Iraq's prime minister met Sunday with the Sunni Arab vice president to discuss reintegrating Sunni political parties into the Shiite-dominated government as police said five people died in violence in Baghdad. [sic -- the totals reported since are far higher. - -C]

The meeting between Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Tariq al-Hashemi came a day after the Sunni leader said the return of his boycotting political bloc to the Cabinet was a priority. The two men discussed "the future of the political process and the rebuilding of a national and unified government," according to a statement from the presidency office.

On Saturday, al-Hashemi said the government needs to reconcile quickly to "save Iraq." His comments were the latest to signal readiness by the Sunni National Accordance Front to rejoin the government after an absence of nearly nine months. The group quit the government in protest over what they described as its anti-Sunni bias.

But Sunni officials have said internal power struggles within the Front over who should be appointed to which posts have delayed a formal decision. Al-Hashemi has been one of al-Maliki's most bitter critics, accusing him of sectarian favoritism, while the prime minister has complained that the vice president is blocking key legislation.

But al-Hashemi and other Sunni leaders apparently have been swayed by al-Maliki's crackdown against Shiite militias that began late last month and focused on the feared Mahdi Army of anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Al-Maliki also has threatened to politically isolate al-Sadr if the Mahdi Army is not disbanded.


Syria returns 701 artifacts that were stolen from the Iraqi National Museum in the aftermath of the U.S. invasion. Apparently the Syrian police recovered these items from traffickers. Minister of Tourism and Archaeology Mohammad Abbas al-Oreibi says he plans to visit Jordan to ask authorities there to turn over seized items as well.

The UK Daily Mail reports that an Iraqi teenage girl in Basra was killed by her father after falling in love with a British soldier. According to this report, her mother says that the authorities released the father after determining that this was indeed an "honor killing." The report cites the city's Security Committee as saying there were 47 such "honor killings" in Basra last year (although none pertaining to relationships with occupation forces) and only 3 convictions. This story seems thoroughly reported and credible. - C

A Swedish immigration case has led to a report being prepared for the Swedish government on "honor killing" in northern Iraq as well. "Northern Iraq" apparently refers to Kurdistan, which surprises me a bit. -- C Excerpt:

A woman is to be deported to Iraq despite the risk of an honour violence. The Migration Board's (Migrationsverket) conclusion that the risk of honour violence in northern Iraq has declined is at odds with the foreign office and has been criticised by the Red Cross.

The latest two annual reports from the Foreign Ministry (Utrikesdepartementet) of the state of human rights in Iraq indicate that honour violence against women has increased. The report for 2007 reported the deaths of 225 women in the region in the first half of the year alone. A United Nations source is cited in the report as saying that 1-2 new cases are reported each day.

The Swedish Red Cross is vocal in its criticism of the Migration Board's analysis of the situation in northern Iraq. "It is serious that the Migration Board paints a picture of the situation in Iraq that does not concur with that held by the government, and that it then forms the basis for its decisions," said Bengt Westerberg of the Swedish Red Cross to Dagens Nyheter.


Quote of the Day

A presidential candidate who lightly commits to obliterating Iran - and, presumably, all the children, parents, and grandparents in Iran - should not be answering the White House phone at any time of day or night.


The Boston Globe editorial page, referring to Hillary Clinton's threat to "totally obliterate" Iran if Iran attacked Israel. Note that Iran has never threatened to attack Israel, and that Israel itself possesses 200 nuclear weapons which they have, in fact, threatened to use. Not that the Globe bothered to point that out.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

War News for Saturday, April 26, 2008

Baghdad:
#1: Three traffic policemen and two civilians were injured when gunmen in a black sedan opened fire on them in the Wathinq Square in Baghdad's central district of Karrada, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

#2: In a separate incident, a roadside bomb explosion struck an Iraqi army patrol in an intersection in the al-Suleikh neighborhood in northern Baghdad, damaging one of the patrol's vehicles and wounding three soldiers aboard, the source said. The blast was followed by gunfire, he said.

Since 2003, the United States has lost 63 helicopters in Iraq. Most of them belong to the U.S. Army, the rest are marine and civilian (mainly security contractors.) In 2007, helicopters were fired on about a hundred times a month, and about 17 percent of the time, the helicopters were hit.

#3: Iraqi police sources told the Voices of Iraq (VOI) news agency that a suicide bomber detonated his explosive vehicle on Saturday, killing one member of the Awakening Councils and wounding another three in Amiriya area western Baghdad. In Baghdad's Salikh area, a bomb went off targeting an Iraqi checkpoint injuring three soldiers.

#4: Forty-six people were injured in the violence across Iraq -- 28 of them in the sprawling Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City, where U.S. and Iraqi forces have been battling Shiite militiamen for a month.

An Iraqi Interior Ministry official said the eight dead in Sadr City included two children.

#5: Five militants were killed and three Iraqi soldiers wounded in an exchange of fire at an Iraqi army checkpoint on the northern outskirts of Baghdad on Friday, police said. Passengers opened fire against soldiers searching a vehicle who discovered weapons inside it. The soldiers responded, killing the five passengers.


Diyala Prv:
Baquba:
#1: In Diyala province north of Baghdad, three Iraqi soldiers died when a roadside bomb struck their patrol about about three miles east of Baquba, the interior ministry official said.

#2: A roadside bomb explosion near a house in central Baquba's al-Hay neighborhood wounded two Iraqi civilians, the official said.

#3: A police officer was killed when gunmen attacked a police patrol in the town of Sheikh-Saad, about 18 miles north of Baquba, the official said.


Iskandariya:
#1: An Iraqi oil pipeline south of Baghdad has been repaired after an explosion yesterday, the Oil Ministry said. `The pipeline is located in an area which gets attacked all the time,'' Oil Ministry spokesman Asim Jihad said today by telephone. ``The fire was controlled and the pipeline has been repaired.'' The explosion at the pipeline near the town of Iskandiriya caused a fire and disrupted fuel flows to the south of the country, Jihad said. He said security officials have counted eight people hurt in the blast, a number he was unable to confirm.

An explosion that blew up an Iraqi oil pipeline south of Baghdad was caused accidentally, the US military said on Saturday, adding the firefighters had contained a blaze sparked by the blast. On Friday, an Iraqi police officer in Babil province said the pipeline had been bombed and 10 guards were wounded in an attack near the town of Musayyib, south of Baghdad.


Kut:
#1: An Iraqi soldier died and two other civilians were wounded when U.S. and Iraqi forces conducted a joint raid in the southern city of Kut, police said. The operation led to sporadic clashes and resulted in the arrest of 25 suspects, said captain Azeez al-Imara, the commander of the Iraqi unit involved. U.S. forces confirmed there were sporadic clashes in the town.


Jazeera:
#1: Iraqi soldiers advised by U.S. Special Forces killed two gunmen during an operation in the Jazeera Desert. One Iraqi soldier died in the firefight, the U.S. military said.


Tikrit:
#1: In Tikrit, some 180 kilometres north of Baghdad, US forces killed five suspected terrorists during military operations, US military said. US forces also discovered weapons and some 900 explosives in the town.

U.S. forces said they killed five gunmen in air strikes and gunbattles during a raid on suspected al Qaeda militants in Tikrit, north of Baghdad.

#2: Police said a roadside bomb blast wounded eight people, including four police officers in central Tikrit, a major Sunni city in Salaheddin province about 100 miles north of Baghdad.


Samarra:
#1: US forces killed two suspected terrorists and detained another seven in the northern city of Samara, US military said.

U.S. forces said they killed three gunmen in an air strike on a vehicle in the Samarra area on Friday.

#2: Five militants from al-Qaeda were killed, including a senior leader dubbed Mohammad Zahim al-Harboni, when U.S. warplanes struck their house on Friday evening in the Jillam area near Samara, said Iraqi Colonel Mazin Yunis. He said two of those killed were Saudis and the other two were Algerian and Syrian.

#3: A suicide bomber blew himself up near a U.S. position during an operation east of Samarra, U.S. forces said. U.S. troops killed a second suspected militant and arrested seven, and destroyed a suspected safe house, U.S. forces said.


Balad:
#1: U.S. forces said they killed a suspect during a raid northwest of the northern town of Balad.


Hatra:
#1: Armed men attacked a police car on Friday in Hatra, south of Mosul, killing two policemen.


Kurdistan:
#1: Turkey's army said its warplanes struck Kurdish separatist targets inside northern Iraq on Friday and Saturday, in what army sources called the biggest Turkish air operation in northern Iraq this year. A Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) spokesman said the bombing had caused no casualties. "Turkish Airforce planes, supported by ground weapons, struck PKK targets in an effective operation on April 25-26," the General Staff said in a statement on its website.



Afghanistan:
#1: Two policemen were killed and four others were wounded when their vehicle was blown up by a remote-controlled mine in Waghaz district of the southern Ghazni province on Saturday morning, Haji Mohammad Zaman, deputy provincial police chief said.

#2: In another attack on Saturday morning, one police officer was killed and another wounded in a roadside attack in Bala Boluk district of western Farah province, said Khalil Rahmani, provincial police chief.

#3: In eastern Paktika province, a provincial spokesman said on Saturday that at least 15 suspected Taliban militants were killed in a NATO-led airstrike on Friday evening.

#4: Taliban militants fired several rockets at police headquarters Charbaran district of the province that wounded a police officer, Ghamai Khan Mohammadyar, spokesman for provincial governor told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

#5: In another attack blamed on the militants, a district director for the census due in August was killed in an ambush in the eastern province of Paktia on Friday, a provincial spokesman said.
His driver was also killed, said local government spokesman Rahmatullah Samoon. "It was the work of the enemies of Afghanistan," Samoon told AFP, using a term to refer to Taliban.

#6: Militants meanwhile fired six rockets at a compound housing various UN agencies in the western city of Herat late Friday but they all landed outside the facility, regional police spokesman Abdul Rauf Ahmadi said.

#7: Also Saturday, four suspected Taliban militants were killed when a car they were using to move explosives blew up in the eastern province of Laghman, a provincial official said.


Casualty Reports:

Pfc. Matthew Bradford, 19, son of Debbie Bradford of Mosinee, was injured Jan. 18, 2007 while serving with the U.S. Marines in Haditha, Iraq. He lost both legs and his left eye and suffered intestinal damage, a ruptured bladder and broken bones.

Spec. Casimir Werda was a gunner on a Humvee in Iraq when an explosion ripped the sight from his eyes. After nearly a year of healing and rehabilitation -- in which he learned how to do routine tasks without sight. "It was a tragedy," Werda, 24, said of the March 14, 2007, attack.

Tim Butler a 20-year-old Watertown man is preparing to return to military service next week after a stay at home to recover from wounds he suffered in a March 7 roadside bomb blast in Iraq. It was the 10th time Pfc. Tim Butler was hit by a roadside bomb. “This last hit messed me up pretty good,” Butler said. “Any time I took a hit, I went to the doctors and said I was all right, so I could keep going out, because I really liked my job. The 10th blast I took sent me over the edge with my concussions though. It just got worse and worse, and that last one was it. I've got a traumatic brain injury.”

Friday, April 25, 2008

War News for Friday, April 25, 2008

MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of a Multi-National Division - Center soldier in a roadside bombing in a neighborhood south of Baghdad on Thursday, April 24th. No other details were released.


Security incidents:

Baghdad:
#1-4: Hospital officials say overnight clashes between U.S. and Iraqi forces and Shiite militants in Baghdad's embattled Sadr City district killed seven people. The U.S. military confirms that fighting broke out late Thursday. Officials at two local hospitals, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media, said the dead included two women. The clashes left 45 wounded, they said. Witnesses say clashes ended in the early hours of Friday. U.S. helicopter gunships reportedly struck targets in Sadr City.

The Sadr City medic said the dead included four old men, two women and a child. Women and children were also among the wounded, he added.

#1: It said that in the first incident at around 6:00 pm (1500 GMT) yesterday, a group of US and Iraqi soldiers was attacked with 60mm mortar rounds. “A three-man mortar team was engaged and killed,” the military said in a statement to AFP.

#2: At around 10:00 pm, an aerial weapons team (AWT) spotted two people digging in the ground to plant bombs. “The AWT engaged them with a Hellfire missile and killed the two.”

#3: At 1:00 am today, an AWT spotted four people placing bombs and a Hellfire missile was fired at them, killing them, the US military said.

#4: Thirty minutes later, the AWT saw two people setting up a rocket-firing position. They were “engaged with a Hellfire missile” and one was killed. The other fled, the military said.

#5: A roadside bomb exploded in Adhamiya neighbourhood, northern Baghdad, on Thursday night, wounding three people, police said.

#6: Iraqi police found three bodies on Thursday overnight in different areas of Baghdad, police said.


Yusufiya:
#1: A roadside bomb killed a civilian and wounded another in Yusufiya town, 15km (9 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.


Iskandariya:
#1: Gunmen killed two people in al-Qariya al- Asriya in Iskandariya town, 40km (25 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

#2: Gunmen shot dead a man near his house overnight in Iskandariya town, 40km (25 miles) south of Baghdad and police said they arrested six people in connection with the attack.


Hilla:
#1: US and Iraqi forces conducted a joint operation and arrested six people on Thursday in the Mahwaeel area, 75km (45 miles) south of Baghdad, arresting two suspects after gunmen shot and wounded an Iraqi policeman, police said.


Al Qarna:
#1: A cameraman working for the al-Nakhil TV channel was killed by an unidentified gunman in the area of al-Qarna, 100 km north of Basra, on Friday, an official police source in the province said. "A gunman opened fire at Ali Jassem al-Battat in al-Qarna, killing him instantly and escaping to an unknown place," the source, who did not want his name mentioned, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq


Tikrit:
#1: An Iraqi police officer was killed on Friday when a bomb struck his vehicle in the northern city of Tikrit, police said. Hassan Ahmed, a police officer, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa that Jabar Ghazwan was killed when an explosive device was remotely detonated. He added that the bomb, which was fastened to the car, is a new method by the militants.


Mosul:
#1: Gunmen shot dead a policeman in western Mosul, police said.

#2: A roadside bomb killed two members of U.S.-backed neighbourhood patrols in southern Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

#3: One fisherman was killed and another wounded when unidentified gunmen opened fire at them northeast of Mosul, a security source in the Ninewa police said on Friday. "The gunmen opened fire at the two fishermen while practicing their job in a lake in the district of Zammar, northeast of Mosul, during a late hour of Thursday evening," the source, who asked not to be named, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq.


Tal Afar:
#1: A roadside bomb wounded a civilian in Tal Afar, 420 km ( 260 miles) north of Baghdad, the Iraqi army said.


Al Anbar Prv:
Fallujah:
#1: A bomb implanted beneath a Friday prayers preacher's seat exploded in al-Raqeeb mosque in al-Julan area, northwestern Falluja, 50km (30 miles) west of Baghdad, wounding 4 people including two policemen, police said.



Afghanistan:
#1: Four people were killed and 30 hurt when a car bomb demolished a police station in northwest Pakistan Friday, ending a lull in attacks since a new government took power last month. The blast early on Friday reduced the police station in central Mardan to a pile of rubble and wrecked an adjoining hotel and several shops, said senior police officer Mohammad Akhtar Khan. Two policemen including an officer and two civilian workers died, while several shops were also destroyed, he said. Officials said 30 were injured, including ten police who were inside the building and were hit by shrapnel.


Casualty Reports:

Jedidiah Bryan, 24, is an Army Specialist for the 418th Transportation Company in the U.S. Army. He and three members of his troop were injured March 12 in Iraq when two rocket-propelled grenades hit the truck in which they were riding.Bryan’s father, Carl Bryan, said the blast from the grenades blew out Jedidiah’s eardrums and damaged a few nerves leading to his brain. He was sent to a hospital in Germany for about three weeks after the accident and stayed at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. the accident damaged Jedidiah’s hearing, eyesight, speech and equilibrium. “He didn’t wear glasses before,” Bryan said. “In fact, he had 20/20 vision and now he has to wear fairly thick glasses with bifocals. ”Bryan said Jedidiah cannot hear without a hearing aid now and has developed a stutter in his speech. The hospital said it could take three to five years for Jedidiah to recover and for the damaged nerves to heal, Bryan said. No surgical procedures can heal Jedidiah’s injuries, but doctors hope that with medication and time, Jedidiah’s eyesight, speech and balance will be restored, Bryan said. Doctors expect Jedidiah’s hearing loss to be permanent, however.

Maj. Dave Underwood of Harrison, Ark., On Jan. 16, an IED explosion in Iraq took his left arm several inches below the elbow, and both legs suffered puncture wounds. But Underwood is working hard and making progress in his rehabilitation at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C.

Army Spc. Adam Lichman, 24, was hurt last Sunday when his Humvee was damaged by an anti-tank weapon during a patrol. His mother, Connie Lichman, of Plymouth, says he was treated for a perforated ear drum, slight concussion and shrapnel injuries to his back. She says he returned to work the next day. An Iowa soldier who was shot in the arm last December in Iraq has been injured again.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

War News for Thursday, April 24, 2008

MNF-Iraq is reporting the deaths of two Multi-National Division - North soldier in a vehicle accident in Salah ad Din Province on Wednesday, April 23rd. Another Soldier and one interpreter were injured in the incident. No other details were released.

MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of a Multi-National Division - Baghdad soldier in a small-arms fire attack in an eastern neighborhood of Baghdad on Wednesday, April 23rd. No other details were released.

The DoD is reporting a new death previously unreported by CENTCOM. Pvt. Ronald R. Harrison died of a non-combat related injury at Forward Operating Base Falcon south of Baghdad on Tuesday, April 22nd. No other details were released.

The Washington is reporting the death of a soldier in a highway vehicle accident in Kuwait. One other soldier was injured in the accident. No other details including the date were released.


Security incidents:

Baghdad:
#1: In the latest clashes, five people died and 28 were wounded early Thursday in Baghdad's embattled Sadr City district, a stronghold of the Mahdi Army militia of anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. The figures came from a police officer who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

#2: Another eight people were killed and two wounded during fighting in the capital's Husseiniyah area, another base of Shiite militants. The figures came from a hospital official who spoke on condition of anonymity out of safety concerns.

#3: A bomb inside a supermarket killed three people and wounded 15, including three Iraqi soldiers, in Mansour district of western Baghdad, police said.

#4: At least three people were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near a police patrol in western Baghdad, police said.

Three Iraqi soldiers were wounded in an IED explosion that targeted their vehicle in al Liqaa intersection in Mansour neighborhood in west Baghdad around 7:00 a.m.

#5: A separate roadside bomb wounded two people, police said. (western Baghdad)

#6: In a separate incident, troops killed a suspected member of al- Qaeda in Iraq group in Baghdad. The military said the man pulled a gun when his car was stopped by troops.

#7: In east Baghdad, a joint US-Iraqi force raided a mental hospital and detained staff and patients, a spokesman for the local health department told the Voices of Iraq news agency. An Iraqi army force backed by multinational troops stormed Rashad mental hospital, smashed doors and detained everyone in the hospital, Qasim Abdel-Hadi said. The report could not be independently verified.

#8: Meanwhile, another police source said that “a roadside bomb, planted on the road near al-Shaab stadium in eastern Baghdad, was detonated, injuring two persons.”

#9: Around 7:15 a.m. the security forces detonated under control an IED in Zayuna neighborhood in east Baghdad.

#10: Another IED was detonated under control without recording any casualties. (near al-Shaab stadium)

#11: A civilian was killed and six people (3 policemen and three civilians) were wounded in a parked car bomb near Ghadeer bridge in Zayuan neighborhood around 2:00 p.m.

#12: Around 3:00 p.m. a mortar shell slammed into the garden of Sadeer hotel in Karrada neighborhood in downtown Baghdad. No casualties were reported.

#13: Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski says a rocket has hit the country's embassy in Baghdad. One embassy worker was lightly wounded in the attack. Sikorski said one mortar or rocket round hit the roof of the building housing the embassy's security staff. The living quarters are next to the embassy's main building in the Iraqi capital's Green Zone.


Mahmudiya:
#1: Three dead bodies were found in Mahmudiya, south of Baghdad. One was decapitated, police said.


Rashidiyah:
#1: US troops came under attack during an operation in Rashidiyah, north of Baghdad, to detain a 'special groups criminal' suspected of receiving money and weapons from Iran to launch attacks on coalition forces, the military said. The man and three other suspects were detained. Four other suspects were killed when US troops came under fire in another location, according to the military.


Salahuddin Prv:
#1: The U.S. military says two of its soldiers in Iraq died when their vehicle rolled onto its side north of Baghdad. The two soldiers died Wednesday in Iraq's Salahuddin province. The military said in a statement released Thursday that another soldier and an interpreter also were injured.


Kirkuk:
#1: Two cops and a civilian were killed on Thursday when an explosive charge went off targeting their vehicle patrol in southern Kirkuk, said a police source. “An explosive device exploded targeting a police vehicle patrol in al-Hegaz neighborhood in southern Kirkuk, killing two policemen and a passing civilian,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq on condition of anonymity.


Mosul:
#1: One civilian was killed and three more were wounded on Thursday in a bomb explosion in north of Mosul, an Iraqi army source said.“A roadside bomb was detonated this morning targeting a civilian vehicle in al-Arabi neighborhood in northern Mosul, killing a civilian and wounding three,” Colonel Fadel Kouran told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq.


Kurdistan:
#1: Turkish warplanes fired on a group of Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq on Wednesday as they tried to cross into Turkey, the army said on Thursday. The army statement came a day after a military source said at least four Turkish military jets bombed Kurdish separatist targets inside northern Iraq. "A group of armed PKK/KONGRA-GEL terror organisation members, who were trying to cross into Turkey from northern Iraq's Hakurk region, were spotted and neutralised by fire from aircraft of the Air Forces," the statement said.

On Wednesday, a spokesman for the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) guerrilla group said Turkish planes bombed a remote part of northern Iraq but no one was hurt. A PKK spokesman denied the Turkish army statement and said the Turkish bombing had caused no casualties among the rebels.


Casualty Reports:

Army Pfc. Donald Barr, 23, suffered a broken jaw, ruptured ear drum and bumps and bruises when his vehicle hit the bomb on Monday near Samarra. He was thrown from the vehicle.Barr's wife, Jennifer Barr, who works for The Globe Gazette, says he is hospitalized in Germany awaiting a flight to the United States. Jennifer Barr says no one else was seriously injured by the explosionBarr is a member of the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky.