Thursday: 26 Iraqis Killed, 6 Wounded

Updated at 7:29 p.m. EDT, April 15, 2010

An old mass grave believed to contain 14 al-Qaeda victims was unearthed near Samarra. Meanwhile, the formation of the new government is slowly plowing ahead as the Iraqiya bloc met with Iranian officials to gain Shi’ite support. Overall, at least 26 Iraqis were killed, including those found in the mass grave, and another six were wounded.

Ayad Allawi, who is seeking a return as prime minister, sent a delegation to meet with top Iranian officials. After initial meetings, Iran re-iterated its desire to see an all-inclusive government form in Iraq. Allawi’s Iraqiya party won the most seats in the national election, but not enough to outright form the new government without building a coalition. Analysts see the delegation as an attempt to defuse any Shi’ite coalitions from backing Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.. President Jalal Talabani, who is Kurdish, said that the Kurdish parties were ready to back the Shi’ite State of Law bloc, which could help Maliki stay in power. If Allawi is shut out by a Shi’ite/Kurd coalition, it could renew sectarian tensions. He also believes that Maliki is abusing his power to alter the electoral outcome.

Fourteen bodies were recovered from a mass grave near Samarra. The grave is thought to be more than a year old. Nine of the victims were firefighters who had been kidnapped two years earlier. The rest were civilians.

In Mosul, four people were killed during a home invasion; three of the victims were women. Gunmen killed a civilian in the Zinjili area. A roadside bomb killed two soldiers and a policeman in Farouq.

A roadside bomb blast in Ramadi wounded six policemen.

The body of a 20-year-old man was found in the Tigris River in Kut.

A cell-phone tower was destroyed in Abu Ghraib.

In Baghdad, a shootout between gunmen and Iraqi forces left three gunmen dead near the Airport. U.S. Phoenix base inside the Green Zone was handed over to the Iraqi military.

Two Suwayra officials were detained on suspicion of having links to terrorism.

An al-Arabiya television reporter was arrested in Kirkuk after a heated argument with a police officer.

Twenty-seven suspects were detained in Basra province.

Seven Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) rebels handed themselves over to security forces in Turkey.

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.