At least four Iraqis were killed and seven others were wounded in relatively light violence. Fifteen others were injured during a fire in Baghdad, but its cause was not reported, and the fire may have been accidental. Meanwhile, the Eid al-Fitr festival began today, after the sighting of the new moon, but a few hours earlier on the final night of Ramadan, a journalist was beaten in Iraq Kurdistan.
An Iraqi Kurdish journalist was beaten outside his Suleimaniya office last night. Asos Hardi was saved by two men who frightened off the assailant. He believes he was targeted because of his occupation and doubts that officials will ever find his attacker. Journalists have suffered attacks and intimidation throughout Iraq, much of it from government sources, and Kurdistan is no exception. In May, Human Rights Watch called on Kurdish officials to end government repression against journalists. The request followed years of assassination attempts, bomb attacks, and subtler forms of intimidation that increased during this year’s large-scale protests.
Last year, the kidnapping and murder of journalist, Sardasht Osman, led to similar, if smaller, protests. Although an official report alleged the young man had ties to terrorism, his family and many others believe that Kurdish security forces assassinated him for publishing negative articles about the regional government. Another journalist, Soran Mama Hama, was killed three years ago, in Kirkuk, after publishing his own critical articles.
In Baghdad, air space was restricted for about an hour due to a threat from indirect fire. Although details were not given, a U.S. military spokeswoman mentioned the proximity of Baghdad International Airport to a U.S. air base as one of the circumstances that led to the decision. Meanwhile, a fire of unknown origin burned 15 people at an Interior Ministry gas station, and two policemen were killed during an attack on their checkpoint in Ghadeer.
A roadside bomb wounded five policemen in Baquba.
A blast at a Duquq cemetery wounded a woman and her daughter.
Police found two bodies, belonging to a government and his wife, at their Hilla home. The couple had been stabbed and then burned.