Updated at 7:00 p.m. EST, Jan. 6, 2010
As Iraq celebrated Army Day, which honors the founding of the country’s army 89 years ago, at least nine Iraqis were killed and 18 more were wounded in several incidents. One U.S. soldier died from combat-related injuries while on patrol in Baghdad as well. In the U.K., testimony at the Iraq Inquiry continued. Also, U.S. Sen. John McCain is in Iraq.
During Army Day festivities, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said that Iraq would not give up any land nor tolerate any country violating it. The warning was likely a response to recent Iranian activity at a disputed oil field. Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari met Iranian Ambassador Hassan Kazemi Qomi today to discuss the ongoing situation. In Basra meanwhile, Iraqi civilians staged a demonstration denouncing the incursion at the Fakka oil field and other recent Iranian ‘transgressions" such as the repeated detention of Iraqi fishermen in the Shatt al-Arab River. Sunni leader Saleh al-Mutlaq dismissed Maliki’s speech as election-year doggerel.
A senior British official revealed to the Iraq (Chilcot) Inquiry that U.K. forces in Basra had negotiated a truce with the Mahdi Army prior to the 2007 troop pullout. Jon Day, who was a director general at the Ministry of Defense then, also said that the Iraqi government was behind the move. However, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was reportedly disillusioned with the truce and nearly ignited a civil war months later when he implemented an ill-fated Iraqi operation against the Mahdi Army. Iran brokered a truce several weeks later, only after hundreds of Iraqis had been killed or injured. The Mahdi Army was the militant wing of the Sadrist movement, headed by Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, and was vying for control of Basra against other Shi’ite militia groups. Sadr disbanded the group or at least curtailed their operations since then.
According to an Iraqi spokesperson, five Iraqis were killed and eight were wounded when their minibus collided with a U.S. military vehicle that was driving in the wrong lane near Hilla. Three U.S. soldiers were injured. The U.S. military admitted the accident occurred but did not give details. The minibus was carrying mostly women and children to visit a cemetery in Babel province.
The president of the Kurdish Autonomous Region, Massoud al-Barazani, met with Gen. Ray Odierno to discuss coordinating security between the U.S., Iraqi, and Kurdish Peshmerga forces. Meanwhile, Barazani’s chief of staff, Fouad Hussein, and others received U.S. Sen. John McCain ahead of Barazani’s meeting scheduled meeting with the U.S. lawmaker.
In Mosul, two policemen were wounded in a roadside bomb blast. In the Wadi Hajar area, an explosive device was detonated at a home where it killed two small children and injured a third one; their father was questioned afterwards. Police also arrested two suspects.
A 10-year-old child was killed and four others were killed as they played with a bomb in Yankeeja village, near Kirkuk.
One civilian was killed and three more were wounded when they drove over an explosive device in Saidiya.
Twenty-eight suspects were arrested in Basra province.
Three suspects were arrested in Kirkuk.
A suspected al-Qaeda suspect was picked-up in Jalawla.
Fallujah celebrated Army Day with a parade.
The Monitor of Constitutional Freedom and Bill of Rights (MRFC) published a report stating that 34,313 Iraqis were victims of violence last year.
Read more by Margaret Griffis
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