US Military Denies Shooting Iraqi Civilians; 12 Dead Across Iraq

Overall, at least 12 Iraqis were killed and 24 more were wounded in the latest reports of violence. However, U.S. military officials are denying one incident in which witnesses claim that U.S. soldiers fired on civilians in Yusufiya. In political news, one lawmaker came out in support of semi-autonomy for Basra, while the vice president denounced plans to expand Iraq’s prison system.

An Iraqi parliamentarian, Jawad al-Bazoni, reiterated local demands that Basra be granted "region" status. It would give the area a semi-autonomous status similar to Iraqi Kurdistan. Basra had been seeking the change for about two years, but the request was placed on the back burner until recently when other Iraqi areas and ethnic groups began their own efforts for the same.

Bazoni emphasized that the request in Basra is merely economic, while the motivation in other areas is political. Indeed, Salah ad Din began their own process after the Iraqi government began cracking down on Sunnis under the guise of detaining Ba’ath Party supporters. The Turkmen ethnic group soon followed. However, many areas suffer from poor services, lack of security, and a desire to control local oil fields, as is also the case in, mostly Shi’ite, Basra.

Separately, Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi criticized plans for expanding Iraq’s prison system. In particular, he denounced the Accountability and Justice Law (a.k.a. de-Ba’athification) as a "a sword on the necks of innocent people, which is used as an excuse against any person being detained." Hundred sof Sunnis were rounded-up only last month and accused of supporting the now-illegal Ba’ath Party. He also cited the controversial sacking of the head of the Integrity Commission (anti-corruption) as more evidence that the central government is not playing straight. Thousands of Iraqis have been languishing in jail, without trial for years, some of them trapped and tortured in secret prisons, while actual corruption goes ignored.

U.S. forces reportedly killed two Iraqis and wounded five more during a shooting in Yusufiya that followed a roadside bomb blast. The U.S. military denied the account.

During a clash at a Ramadi checkpoint, four policemen and three insurgents were killed, while four policemen were wounded. Another attack left at least one policeman dead and three others wounded.

In Baghdad, ten people were wounded when a blast lured them to another bomb left on Palestine Street; security personnel were attempting to defuse it when it exploded. Security forces were accused of attacking a reporter during a demonstration yesterday, it follows a long-term pattern of harassment towards journalists by the Iraqi government.

Two bodies, one beheaded, were recovered in Mussayab. Both bodies were severely decomposed.

A bomb wounded a civilian in Amin.

The Iraqi army implemented a raid in Amiriyat al-Falluja, looking for several wanted men.

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Author: Margaret Griffis

Margaret Griffis is a journalist from Miami Beach, Florida and has been covering Iraqi casualties for Antiwar.com since 2006.