Thursday: 21 Iraqis Killed, 61 Wounded

Updated at 11:00 a.m. EDT, April. 17, 2009

Iraq suffered yet another suicide bombing, this one in Anbar province. Officials contradicted each other over the number of casualties but approximately 21 Iraqis were killed and 61 more were wounded across the country, including the suicide bombing. Meanwhile, a U.S. soldier was given a life sentence for the deaths of four Iraqis in his custody.

In Anbar province, hospital sources reported that a suicide bomber had killed as many as 18 Iraqi soldiers and wounded 50 more in Habaniya. Military authorities later contradicted the several reports from their own officers and police. They claimed the bomber had only wounded 38 soldiers. The bomber was possibly wearing a military uniform at the time. Conflicting numbers are the norm in Iraq for various reason. In some cases, authorities are embarrassed by breaches in security, while at other times the chaos of the situation leads to multiple reports.

This is the latest bombing since the arrest of Sunni Awakening Council members last month in Baghdad. Although the source (or sources) of the bombings is unknown, they could be the direct result of the arrests, whether it is angry members of the organization or other entities wanting to increase tensions between the Sahwa and the Shi’ite-led central government. Anbar province is where the Awakening Council movement was born in 2006. At once time, cities like Fallujah and Ramadi were among the most violent in Iraq, but the formation of the Sahwa councils dramatically reduced the number of attacks. They are credited with reducing violence throughout Sunni populated areas of Iraq.

In Mosul, a grenade blast wounded three people. Gunmen killed a policeman and wounded a second during an attack at a checkpoint. A car bomb wounded three prison guards.

A Sahwa leader was killed when a bomb planted on his car exploded in Baquba. Four policemen were wounded in the blast.

Four Naqshabandiya suspects were detained in Saidiya.

Forty-three suspects were arrested in Dhi Qar.

Eight suspects, six of them possibly belonging to Naqshabandiya, were captured by joint forces in Hawija.

Ongoing operations in Basra netted 79 suspects in the early hours and 91 more were detained later.

Read more by Margaret Griffis

Author: Margaret Griffis

Margaret Griffis is a journalist from Miami Beach, Florida and has
been covering Iraqi casualties for Antiwar.com since 2006.