Thursday: 1 Marine, 96 Killed; 157 Wounded in Iraq

Updated at 8:40 p.m. EDT, Apr. 23, 2009

At least 96 people were killed and 157 more were wounded, mostly in two significant suicide-bombing attacks. Over 50 of the dead and about 77 of the wounded are believed to be Iranian pilgrims. This came on the same day that Iran and Iraq announced a oil deal. The DoD reported the death of a Marine from non-combat causes in Anbar. Meanwhile, the A.P. has learned that 87,000 Iraqis have “officially” died in violent attacks since 2005. Also, one of the most wanted al-Qaeda figures, whether he actually exists or not, has been reported captured.

A secret Iraqi government tally was leaked to the Associated Press. In it, at least 87,000 Iraqis are known killed in violence since 2005. A.P. has counted at least 110,000 deaths throughout the war.

Iraqi security officials reported capturing suspected al-Qaeda leader Abu Omar al-Baghdadi. Similar reports have been wrong in the past, and U.S. officials even doubt his physical existence. Some believe he is an imaginary figurehead created to throw off security forces or to give an Iraqi face to al-Qaeda.

At least 55 people were killed and as many as 77 were wounded when a suicide bomber struck at a roadside restaurant in Muqdadiya. Most of the victims are believed to be Iranian pilgrims traveling to holy sites in Karbala and Najaf. Only five casualties, including wounded, were thought to be Iraqi. Police reported a lower number of dead and said that three were Iraqis. The toll is expected to rise. Incidentally, Iran and Iraq reached a deal that would allow Iraqi crude oil to be piped to Iran for refinement.

In Baghdad, a female suicide bomber killed 33 people and wounded 57 others receiving Red Crescent food aid in Karrada; 12 policemen were among the dead. Also, the man thought responsible for last week’s attack on a group of jewelers was arrested. In Tobchi, a bomb blast wounded two people.

One civilian was killed and two others were wounded during a drive-by shooting in Khanaqin.

In Baquba, gunmen killed a sheikh. Two empty homes belonging to displaced Shi’ite families were blown up.

In Mosul, a roadside bomb injured two civilians in Zahraa. A grenade injured four more in Ras al-Jada. No casualties were reported after a car bomb targeting a U.S. patrol was detonated.

A roadside bomb targeting a group of Awakening Council (Sahwa) members in Udhaim killed three members and wounded three more.

Gunmen killed a member of the Awakening Council (Sahwa) in Mussayab. Three Sahwa members were arrested under suspicion of planting a roadside bomb.

Four al-Qaeda suspects were captured in Suwayra. A bomb factory was seized separately. Also, 500 RPG missiles were discovered in an underground cache.

Security raids in Basra province netted 17 suspects.

Two special groups leaders were detained in Hilla. “Special groups” refers to militant groups suspected of having support from Iran. Iran has denied such accusations in the past.

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.