Wednesday: 8 Iraqis, 8 Iranians Killed; 119 Iraqis, 425 Iranians Wounded

by , July 29, 2009

Updated at 1:00 p.m. EDT, July 29, 2009

At least eight Iraqis were killed and 119 more were wounded in attacks that included a raid on Camp Ashraf, where perhaps eight Iranians were also killed and 425 more were wounded. Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who is visiting Iraq, said that some U.S. troops may leave Iraq ahead of schedule and separately offered to mediate in the ongoing Kurd-Arab dispute. Also, the British foreign office warned families of two British hostages that their loved ones are likely dead.

Details from a government raid on Camp Ashraf yesterday are still sketchy, but at least eight protestors were killed and 425 were wounded, according to unconfirmed reports. Fifty were arrested. Officially, Iraq says that only two riot officers were killed, but at least 80 more were injured or sickened by tear gas. Many protestors are now on hunger strike, and continued clashes were reported again today.

The camp is home to Iranian refugees who once belonged to a militant group called the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran. The group was disarmed years ago and fought back yesterday with only knives and “toxic bombs." They fear returning to Iran, but the Iraqi government, hoping to placate Iranian leaders, wants them gone. The president of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, Maryam Rajavi, believes that the raid is tied to the uprising in Iran, but Iraqi officials denied this. The group is recognized as “protected persons” under the Geneva Conventions; however, the Maliki government has harassed them since the U.S handed over protection of the group to his government. Iran welcomed the raid, while the U.S. asked for restraint.

In Baghdad, a bomb at an Adhamiya café killed three people and wounded 31 others late last night. 

In Mosul, a roadside bomb killed a policeman and wounded two others, another policeman and a child. Two more children were wounded in a separate bombing. Also, an ambulance was robbed of ID 160 million as it was carrying the monthly salaries for health workers; four ambulance team members were arrested, but the gunmen escaped.

One policeman was killed an two others were wounded when a bomb was detonated near a mosque on the International Highway in Anbar province.

A body was discovered in a Makhmour suburb.

A roadside bomb wounded two people in Kirkuk.

Police defused a bomb planted near a Souk al-Shyoukh mosque.

A bomb targeting a U.S. patrol was detonated in Amara.

The bomb squad in Ramadi dismantled a bomb.

Anonymous leaflets that were circulated in Tal Afar called for martial courts that will execute gunmen in front of their families.

U.S. forces are preparing to conduct air strikes on suspected al-Qaeda hideouts in the Hamrin Mountains, in accordance with the U.S.-Iraq S.O.F.A agreement.

The Turkish government said it is working on a plan to give its Kurdish citizens more rights in an effort to end a decades-long conflict with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

The Ruling parties in the Kurdish Autonomous Region won re-election. Kurdish president Massud Barzani pledged to work on disputes between the K.A.R. and central governments.

Read more by Margaret Griffis